China’s government has imposed a lockdown on Shanghai for more than a month. As a result, all its residents are confined at home, and getting enough food to eat is a day-to-day challenge for them.
The Shanghai authorities have closed the commercial systems. They have tried to provide for their 25 million people, but the result has been a scarcity of supplies and rapidly expanding black markets.
According to the New York Times, food is difficult to convey to Shanghai. In addition, because of Covid restrictions, commercial trucks have a hard time moving as only vehicles having passes are allowed on the road within the city.
A truck driver with the surname Zhao has been stuck in his vehicle in a Shanghai suburb since March 28. He has not been able to work. He and nearly 60 other truckers have been drinking from fire hoses and struggling to secure food.
A senior executive of a logistics company said that they could not provide lodging for so many workers. So just a few thousand of 60,000 delivery workers are back in Shanghai. China’s regulations are complicated. The company must adhere to a set of expensive pandemic-control measures. Among them, workers must live on-site and regularly test for the virus.
In addition, the Shanghai government controls the number of suppliers and delivery companies. They only allow around 1,000 logistic firms to operate. Besides, some areas in the city enable only government-organized grocery distributions.
The South China Morning Post cited the comment of Nanjing University political scientist Gu Su about the shortages in Shanghai. He said this timing in Shanghai was even worse than in Wuhan—the hotspot of the initial Covid-19 outbreaks in late 2019 and early 2020.
Gu explained that Shanghai has double the population and a higher population density than Wuhan.
These differences worsen supply issues for Shanghai. Additionally, systemic mismanagement brings dire consequences.
In Shanghai, two officials were investigated on April 19 for their irresponsibility in distributing necessities to residents. China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection named Ren Weiping 任伟萍, deputy mayor of Meilong Town, Minhang District, and Li Shuang 栗爽, director of the Economic Development Office.
The department’s report showed that these two officials had failed to supervise the food distribution process. As a result, the report said they distributed poor-quality pork products to the residents.
Further investigations on Ren and Li have been carried out. At the same time, the two were removed from their current positions.
China’s state-run media People Daily reported that Shanghai police had detected spoiled pork meat in four batches of basic living necessities in Meilong Town. They found that the frozen pork products had too much fat, poor taste, spoilage, and were mainly trimmings, among other problems.
The report stated that the Meilong Township Government and Shanghai Zhiyu Industrial had signed a contract worth over 7.6 million yuan (around 1.1 million.)
The security department also found that the spoiled meat was distributed at market price.
According to the Chinese state-backed news outlet The Paper, on April 19, a woman surnamed Yu from Yangpu District said many of her neighbors had ordered sets of pork belly and ribs. The sets cost up to 37,600 yuan (around $5,800.) However, many reported that the goods were of low quality, describing them as bubbling, smelly, and not fresh.
In a video circulating online, boxes of spoiled pork meat were on the ground. The video shows that the pork came from Zhejiang province, near Shanghai. A woman in the video said it was left to rot before distribution.
Meanwhile, Many Shanghai residents can’t access food at all.
Alice Su, Senior China Correspondent at the Economist, shared a video on Twitter that said, “As seen on Weibo: Shanghai residents go to their balconies to sing and protest the lack of supplies.”
A drone appeared … “Residents of Jiuting 九亭 Homeland, please follow the prevention epidemic regulations of the municipal government. You should control your soul’s desire for freedom. Do not open windows or sing. This behavior has the risk of spreading the epidemic.”
In addition, the Washington Post reported a video of an older woman trying to talk to Shanghai Chief Li Qiang 李强. She told of her lack of food when he visited the residents. Others shouted that they needed government help. They don’t have enough food to eat.