“Seeing Shanghainese fighting for food shocks me deeply,” releases Connie Wu in her encrypted courier from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, 2,000 kilometers from Shanghai. hermetically confined Since the beginning of April, the 25 million inhabitants of the economic capital of the Porcelainshowcase of modernity, they go through an ordeal that they never imagined possible.
“Containment in China is like being in prison at home”
With nearly 20,000 daily positive cases in coronavirus, the epicenter of the current epidemic outbreak has been seeing the “zero Covid” policy applied in China for more than two years: total confinement, multiple daily tests and isolation in special centers for positive, symptomatic or asymptomatic cases. As the world learns to live with the virus, Shanghai is experiencing a never-ending strict lockdown. “The confinement in China is like being in jail in your apartment”, says Chow, also about encrypted messaging. In Shanghai, anger rises and falls on the streets.
Rebels at heart, Shanghainese are voicing their weariness over the triumphalist speeches of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (Xi Jinping was still promoting the zero Covid strategy this weekend) and venting their anger on social media. A series of videos published and verified by Agence France-Presse show “food riots” in some parts of Shanghai. Civil servants in overalls are also seen beating dogs or cats to death. Robot dogs circulate through the streets calling on the population to stay home. Even more dystopian, the drones broadcast messages over loudspeakers urging Shanghainese to “mastering the desire for freedom of (his) spirit “…
The Zero Covid strategy is Xi Jinping’s policy
“The government has gone mad” adds Mao Jin, a refugee in her native province of Anhui, neighboring Shanghai: “We have neither freedom nor food! » Resilient, sympathetic or convinced of the benevolence of their leaders, many Chinese are beginning to understand that it is “the policy that manages the virus, not the scientists”,“sacrificing people”. In the South, in Canton, near shenzhen (already confined for two weeks last month), the confinement begins to apply. Many small towns (between 150,000 and 2 million inhabitants) are already confined throughout the country.
However, these rare public signs of discontent will not change the government’s strategy. “Covid zero is not just the Party’s policy, but Xi Jinping’s policy.” explains Steve Tsang, director of the Chinese Institute for Asian Studies in London. “And, in fact, it can only be foolproof and cannot be abandoned, at least not before Xi realizes that it may damage his hold on power. » Meanwhile, Connie Wu has already stored a month’s worth of food: « Chengdu (16 million inhabitants, editor’s note) may be the next confined city. »