Reason Magazine reports that pets are being killed and citizens left without adequate food in China’s lockdowns aimed at controlling the coronavirus:
In Shanghai, which is three times the size of New York City, residents have been under strict pandemic lockdown since March 27 in some parts, and since March 31 in others, with no end in sight.
Having detected a huge surge in cases, with more than 20,000 new cases being found daily, Chinese authorities locked the city of 25 million down, forcing residents into situations of extraordinary deprivation and subjecting them to brutal containment and control measures. With residents unable to leave their houses, food supplies are dwindling, and government workers attempting to deliver supplies to homes and apartments, frequently failing to do so in a timely or consistent manner. People are running out of the medicines they need to stay healthy or alive. Some people experiencing medical emergencies, CNN reports, have died after being turned away; they were unable to access care without negative COVID tests. “We are not killed by Covid, but by the Covid control measures,” read a viral post on social media site Weibo.
Due to strict containment and isolation measures in place for COVID-positive people, some mothers report being forcibly separated from their COVID-infected children by authorities. Health authorities allege parents will be able to appeal this and seek permission (!) to accompany their COVID-positive children to hospitals and isolation wards. It is unclear how this will actually apply in practice and whether this will end the brutal measure of separating parents from their young, sick children.
“In this country it’s not the virus that scares us, but the chaotic anti-Covid measures that have caused risks to the well-being of the elderly, the children and companion animals,” Shanghai resident Lily Chen told Bloomberg. “I now realize we can only rely on ourselves—not the government—to protect our own families.”
A video that has gone viral in China shows one family in Shanghai being taken off to COVID quarantine as their pet corgi chased the van in pursuit of its people. They had ostensibly released the dog into the city, assuming possible survival, instead of letting it stay in the family home during the quarantine period (where it would die without care). The dog was promptly killed by a COVID prevention worker wielding a spade. (This is not the first time Chinese authorities have come under fire for brutal treatment of pets in pursuit of COVID containment.).
“Hunger drives people crazy, how can this continue?” said one person.
Those who do violate or try to circumvent state-mandated quarantine or lockdown are subjected to punishment, though it is difficult to know the full extent of such sanctions due to China’s aggressive censorship. In Chinese cities such as Shandong, which was also recently forced under lockdown, videos of harsh punishments have circulated.
All such measures are part of China’s “COVID Zero” strategy, which aims to totally eliminate COVID-19 within China’s borders, often through imposition of aggressive regional lockdowns such as the one seen in Shanghai, as well as frequent coronavirus testing. Only about half of China’s above-80 citizens are fully vaccinated, and Chinese vaccines are less effective than their Western counterparts. It’s unclear what the death toll looks like, as China conceals most deaths.
“We don’t want to starve to death,” chanted residents of one town. “Control your soul’s desire for freedom,” one drone told them as it aerially broadcast coronavirus control policies throughout the city.