China recently announced 20 measures in the name of optimizing pandemic prevention. It was first thought to signal that China’s infamous aero-COVID policy was easing after two long years of strict application. But the result might be different. 

Guangzhou, a major port city in southeastern China, has continued to set up more large-scale quarantine sites. The latest would be enough to hold nearly 250,000 people. On the surface, the rising COVID cases are to blame, but Chinese residents question the true motive. 

On Thursday, November 17, citing the rising number of COVID cases, Guangzhou upgraded several neighborhoods’ red plastic water barriers to iron walls.

In particular, Haizhu district, where most of the city’s COVID cases have been reported, extended its measures in some areas for another 3 days to Saturday, November 19.

A resident in the district questions why he can not get out after so many days while some people can. 

Another resident said it has already been the 24th day since she has been to work. The lockdown is supposed to last until Saturday, November 19. 

On Thursday and Friday, China said there were more than 20,000 new local COVID cases all over the country, with Guangzhou being the worst. On Tuesday, November 15, COVID cases in Guangzhou broke the threshold of 6,000 cases. On Wednesday, it jumped up to over 8,700 cases. Real cases might be higher, as China has always been accused of hiding data.

As Guangzhou tightens the lockdown measures, it is also expanding its quarantine facilities. It is planning to build 250,000 more beds in the largest shelter hospital in the city, expected to be finished by Saturday, November 19. 

But one thing worth noting is none of the new large number of COVID cases are serious. And as so many square cabins are being built, many locals think there must be something dubious going on.

Mr. Wei is a Guangzhou resident. He said that construction has been going on ceaselessly for about three years. And once it’s made, it won’t be used, so why bother building them? 

Mr. Wei suspects this might be a type of corruption. Taxpayers’ money to cover the building cost has been stolen.

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