Tensions between Shanghai residents and China’s Covid enforcers have risen again, as part of a renewed push to end infections outside quarantine zones in order to meet President Xi Jinping’s demand for “dynamic zero-Covid.”
According to the Guardian, videos shared on China’s social media platforms showed suspected Covid-positive patients being forcibly quarantined in central facilities.
In some areas, a single positive case may result in the quarantine of the entire apartment building’s residents.
Many of these videos have been removed by censors, but determined residents have continued to post them. Past speeches by top officials and legal scholars on the importance of the rule of law have resurfaced. According to The Guardian, these speeches have been shared and reposted on social media to express dissatisfaction with government policy.
In a major speech to the country’s senior cadres last week, Xi reiterated that his government had no intention of abandoning the contentious zero-Covid commitment. He urged officials to “unwaveringly adhere to the general policy of dynamic zero-Covid,” and he warned against any criticism or doubt about the policy.
Residents in at least four of Shanghai’s 16 districts reported receiving notices saying they would no longer be able to receive food deliveries or leave their homes over the weekend, prompting numerous complaints on social media.
“The virus itself is no longer scary, but the way the government enforced the policy has become the most frightening thing,” said one Shanghai resident, who wished to remain anonymous.
“We had thought the lockdown could be eased this month, but now there’s no end in sight again,” the Guardian quoted the resident as saying.
A number of videos shared on social media in recent days showed health officials, also known as ‘Dabai,’ or “Big Whites,” entering residents’ homes and spraying disinfectants everywhere.
Many residents were outraged by this practice and questioned its legality.
Others questioned whether such a metric had any scientific foundation.