Shanghai has recently strengthened its lockdown strategy by releasing a stiffer nine-point COVID containment plan starting on April 22. According to the Guardian, as Shanghai enters its third day of rigorous lockdown, desperation stories are emerging.
According to the Washington Post, millions of residents have been trapped at home following the latest measure from authorities. Meanwhile, others have been rounded up and placed in makeshift quarantine centers and makeshift hospitals.
Shanghai residents are reported to be unable to access food, medications, and other essential supplies.
Frustrations and cries for help are circulating across the internet.
A recent widely shared video among media outlets has taken an emotional toll.
In the video, Shanghai residents were shouting after being stranded in their homes due to recent coronavirus restrictions. A bystander asked how long this situation would last.
People also shared complaints on Weibo, China’s microblogging platform.
Alice Su, Senior China Correspondent at the Economist, shared a video on Twitter.
She said, “As seen on Weibo: Shanghai residents go to their balconies to sing and protest the lack of supplies.”
She added that a drone appeared and told people not to protest on their balconies but to stay indoors.
In addition, The Washington Post reported a video of an older woman trying to talk to Shanghai Chief Li Qiang 李强 about the lack of food when he visited the residents. Others shouted, “Save us. We don’t have enough to eat “during his visit.
According to the Washington Post, local authorities of the Changfeng Xincun Committee on April 8 guaranteed to send 25,000 packages of food a day to the 100,000 residents in their area in western Shanghai.
However, the 27-year-old resident, Wu Peiying, confirmed that she had only received one package of one carrot, a cabbage, a yam, and a few spoiled chicken wings.
Therefore, Wu and her neighbors turned to groups to bulk-buy supplies like other Shanghai residents.
However, as the New York Times reported on April 14, there were also concerns about the suspension of fast delivery service in some locations. It wasn’t an irrational assumption.
Through her screenshots, Wu said that she must make an effort to secure the rice packages she purchased a week ago for her group. But, the delivery service delayed the shipmen, claiming the current severe shipping capacity was limited.
Lucy Lu told the Financial Times that she had to cancel the order after the neighborhood committee refused to help with couriers, citing infection risks.
Regarding medication issues, according to the Washington Post, family members of many people have suffered as a result of the upheaval.
The 55-year-old Fu Ding Hua watched her mother die after a forceful relocation from a hospital requisitioned for COVID patients.
Her mother was forced into an ambulance, sandwiched and unable to lay down.
Shanghai authorities sent medical volunteers to help with the current chaotic situation. However, as the Guardian reported, there were signs that this team was struggling for food access themselves.
A female medical volunteer cries in a video on Douyin, the Chinese version of Tiktok. She said, “Are the supplies just for Shanghai locals? … As an outsider, I can be a volunteer, but why are the goods and supplies not assigned to us? “
Anger among Shanghai residents mounts as the city reports more new COVID-19 deaths on April 22. They show their frustrations over a tight lockdown and strict online censorship.
As Reuters reported, a six-minute video entitled “The Voice of April” showed citizens moaning about the scarcity of food and medicine and the city authorities’ heavy-handed approach.
Netizens battled against social media censors overnight to share that epidemic-capturing video. However, by the morning of April 23, all direct references related to the video were erased from the Weibo microblogging service, while some comments criticizing the censorship persisted.
One stated that it is hopeless if you don’t even want to listen to just a tiny amount of genuine voices.
Many people were reminded of the social media outrage that occurred two years earlier after Li Wenliang, a doctor penalized by authorities for posting information about a new SARS-like infectious illness in Wuhan in late 2019, died of COVID-19.
Another Weibo user wrote that Dr. Li, after two years, nothing had changed. He added that people still can’t open their mouths and still can’t speak.
Despite citizens’ mounting anger and frustrations, local officials insist that no easing will occur until all new cases outside the quarantine zones have been eliminated.
Not only humans, but the food crisis in Shanghai also affects animals.
As reported by the Washington Post, some people left their homes and saw disheartening starved-to-death animals when they returned.
A 35-year-old man named Tam said that he felt depressed seeing those starved-to-death animals.
The Guardian said that Shanghai’s strict lockdown is shaping up to be the largest challenge to China’s strict “dynamic zero” COVID policy.
In addition, analysts predict that any relaxation of restrictions will be improbable in the run-up to the 20th National Party Congress in November.