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in China, the anger of Shanghainese caught by “zero Covid”

“To see how people from Shanghai are fighting for food shocks me deeply”, Connie Wu lost on her encrypted messages from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, 2000 kilometers from Shanghai. Hermetically sealed since the beginning of April, the 25 million inhabitants of the economic capital of the Chinaa showcase of modernity, undergo an ordeal they never thought possible.

→ ANALYSIS. Covid-19: the anger of the 25 million incarcerated Shanghainese

“Inclusion 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 is seeing the “zero Covid” policies implemented in China for more than two years: total incarceration, daily multiple tests, and isolation in special centers for positive, symptomatic or asymptomatic cases. As the world learns to live with the virus, Shanghai lives in strict, never-ending confinement. “Lockdown in China is like being in jail in your apartment”, says Chow, also about encrypted messages. In Shanghai, anger rises and falls in the streets.

Rebels at heart, Shanghainese are expressing their fatigue from the triumphal speeches of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (Xi Jinping still praising the zero Covid strategy this weekend) and venting their anger on social networks. Showing some videos released and verified by Agence France-Presse “food riots” in some parts of Shanghai. Officials in overalls are also seen beating dogs or cats to death. Robot dogs are circulating in the streets, urging people to stay at home. Even more dystopian, drones broadcast messages through loudspeakers urging Shanghainese “controlling the desire for freedom of (their) mind”

Zero Covid strategy is Xi Jinping’s policy

‘The government has gone mad’ adds Mao Jin, a refugee in her native Anhui province, near Shanghai: “We have neither freedom nor food! † Resilient, understanding, or convinced of the benevolence of their leaders, many Chinese are beginning to understand that it is “the politics controlling the virus, not the scientists”,“by sacrificing the people”† In the south, in the canton, near shenzhen (incarcerated for two weeks last month), the incarceration starts to apply. Many small towns (between 150,000 and 2 million inhabitants) are already locked up across the country.

→ READ. Covid-19 in China: Xi Jinping, the “father protecting the great Chinese family”

However, these rare public signs of discontent will not change the government’s strategy. “Zero Covid is not just party policy, but Xi Jinping policy”, explains Steve Tsang, director of the Chinese Institute of Asian Studies in London. “And in fact, it can only be infallible and cannot be given up, at least not until Xi realizes it could hurt staying in power. † Meanwhile, Connie Wu has been storing food for a month: “Chengdu (16 million inhabitants, editor’s note) could be the next private city. †

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