Since the beginning of this week, residents of the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou have been under the strict measures of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) “zero-COVID” policy. The new waves of infections by the strain Omicron BA.5.2. continue to advance, although vaccination mandates are the order of the day, Chinese citizens have not yet resumed “normal” life like the rest of the world.
On Monday, November 7, Guangzhou authorities reported new highs of positive cases. With 1,000 new infections reported daily, the outbreak has been spreading for two weeks.
One of the “protective” measures is the obligation of mass testing in nine city districts and to respect the rules of prevention, such as health checks and restricting daily movement to a minimum.
According to official data, Guangzhou has had more than 12,000 positive cases in the last nine days.
In Haizhu district, where 90% of the positive cases were found, a complete lockdown was ordered, preventing residents from leaving the area from October 31 to November 11.
According to local media reports, authorities suspended flights from Guangzhou airport and canceled nearly 90% of flights scheduled on November 9.
In addition, primary and secondary schools had to close. Employees of private and public companies are not allowed to commute to their workplaces. Only pandemic workers are allowed to move to enforce “stay-at-home” orders.
Tired of lockdowns: Chinese break barricades
Sudden closures of neighborhoods and districts are expected in China after the onset of the pandemic. Authorities erect barricades to prevent people from leaving, so they cannot go out for supplies and food. Instead, they must order them online. However, not only is it much more expensive but there are shortages of supplies.
These measures push many Chinese citizens to desperation who are already tired after almost three years of restrictions. They have few alternatives to ask for help from the authorities, who promise to bring food and supplies, which never arrive.
Some videos break through the Great Chinese Internet Firewall and reach the West, showing the harsh reality of daily life under the CCP’s COVID restrictions.
A Chinese netizen posted a video on Chinese social networks about a citizen who had managed to escape from the barricades that prevented him from leaving his building. A group of pandemic workers tried to block his way but were unsuccessful. Behind the first Chinese who came out, several others followed and confronted the COVID workers. Finally, after some struggles, they were able to get out.
Another video shows an angry Chinese national at a COVID checkpoint quarreling with a pandemic worker, who received several blows. Then, some policemen arrived and took this citizen away by force.
The anger of Guangzhou residents is not only about the closures. The lack of food and supplies would drive anyone to despair, yet the CCP authorities do nothing to help.
Another netizen posted a video showing a woman picking edible wild herbs by a dry stream. In her post, she said that food was not available in Guangzhou.
Recently, local authorities sent dozens of COVID-positive but asymptomatic residents to a quarantine center. Some netizens posted videos of the state of the place and the inmates. There were no beds, cardboard was used as a mattress for sleeping on the floor, and the place had no roof but was a large courtyard. People there waited for the day’s food for more than 20 hours.
The local authority continues mass testing, so more cases are reported daily. In addition, it reinforces controls and warns citizens that they will be punished if they do not comply with the rules.
However, according to videos posted on Twitter and obtained from Chinese social networks, the Chinese are reaching their limit.
The most recent case is Foxconn, one of the largest Apple factories in the world. An outbreak of COVID among factory workers led to a mass shutdown. According to rumors on social media, the 350,000-employee factory had more than 20,000 workers testing positive for COVID. People could not return to their homes, and after a few days of isolation, food and supplies became scarce.
Some videos on Chinese social media showed factory workers escaping the forced lockdown. Others showed a long line of Foxconn workers walking along the roads to return home.
Something similar happened at a technical school in Zhengzhou. Authorities ordered a total lockdown with the students inside. Internet videos showed Chinese youths using clothes tied like a noose to escape through windows.
While the West is resuming a relatively everyday life after the pandemic, the Chinese people remain under the strict draconian measures of the CCP. Following the 20th Party Congress, international analysts and economic groups are still waiting for some sign of a transition to normalcy as the rest of the world did. The consequences of Xi Jinping’s “zero-COVID” policy are there for all to see.
Will China continue on the same path it has been on since November 2019 in Wuhan?