China seeks to contain people’s grievances over the Covid lockdown in Shanghai by accusing foreign forces of inciting local protests.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has collected numerous short videos showing Chinese people are angry and frustrated with the Covid-19 lockdown in Shanghai. The videos, shared online, show officials trying to handle issues, such as food shortages, by escaping responsibility.
In one video, people in a residential apartment protest the lockdown by organizing so-called Concerts. They bang their pots and pans to express their frustration.
The concerts have prompted authorities to accuse nonspecific foreign conspirators of stirring up the protest, trying to sabotage its epidemic prevention efforts. As a result, they have given out warnings via social platform WeChat and through loudspeakers.
A typical announcement can be heard over a loudspeaker: “Friends and neighbors, here is an announcement. There are several reports of foreign forces inciting Chinese citizens to protest by taking part in a concert. This is conspiracy from foreign forces to cloud everyone’s judgement.”
Many compounds have been locked up since Shanghai started its city-wide lockdown in late March to try and curtail the biggest outbreak in China since the Covid pandemic began.
According to Jonathan Chen, WSJ Chief Bureau, many people have expressed their anger, sadness, depression, and despair over the prolonged lockdown in Shanghai.
One piece of footage shows police trying to kick in a house door and force a woman into quarantine. The resident refused to cooperate with officials.
According to the WSJ, the woman filmed and posted the video online. She says she tested positive, and the test needed to be reviewed. But the police eventually took her away to quarantine.
Another scene shows people smashing vegetables in the street to protest the local authorities. The WSJ reported the vegetables were supposed to be distributed to hungry families locked in their homes during the lockdown. However, authorities left them to rot instead.
The footage was uploaded on Chinese social platforms like WeChat and Weibo but was taken down. However, they have been re-uploaded several times.
Jonathan Chen, WSJ Chief Bureau, says: “It’s a city of 25 million people, and we’ve seen this remarkable stream of footage come out of Shanghai, most of it filmed by ordinary people—amateurs—on their smartphones, but they do reflect frustrations that we’ve all heard from people who are living there.”
Residents in Shanghai have been in lockdown for six weeks. Though the city’s authorities have briefly eased the rules for some residents to buy groceries and medicine, they have tightened restrictions again even though the number of Covid cases is falling.
China is insisting on eradicating the coronavirus. It says any relaxation of measures could allow the virus to rebound.
However, the World Health Organization has rebuked that policy. Last week, the organization’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made a rare public comment on the Chinese regime’s handling of the Covid pandemic.
He said China’s zero-Covid policy is not sustainable.
Ghebreyesus says: “When we talk about the zero-Covid strategy, we don’t think that it’s sustainable, considering the behavior of the virus now and what we anticipate in the future.”