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How Lockdowns Brought China’s Second Largest City To The Brink Of Anarchy

  • Shanghai announced an easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on Monday, according to a government bulletin.
  • The government announcement comes after a period of unrest, some of which was caught on video and uploaded to social media.
  • Shanghai has reported 26,000 new cases in this most recent outbreak, according to Bloomberg.

China’s second most populous city reversed course on lockdown restrictions after a surprise government announcement on Monday.

The Shanghai municipality, which is home to almost 29 million inhabitants, announced it will allow certain districts to resume “appropriate activities” in a Monday bulletin, following at least one report residents under lockdown became physically violent and began looting, with video emerging showing large crowds breaking through a medical barrier.

While, originally, Chinese state-run media announced Shanghai would not need to be locked down in mid-March, according to Reuters, a “two-stage lockdown” was ultimately deemed necessary on March 28, CNBC reported.

The first stage of the lockdown began in Shanghai’s financial hub on the east side of the Huangpu River and lasted between March 28 and April 1, while the second stage covered the west side of the city and lasted until April 5, according to the same report.

However, when the “two-stage lockdown” failed to work, Shanghai implemented the “extended lockdown” across the whole city, which the municipality is now just beginning to ease.

‘Heavens! That’s Too Cruel’

Residents were filmed looting a supermarket for food and other supplies at an undefined location in Shanghai, according to the same April 10 report from The Sun.

Multiple videos also emerged depicting health workers killing stray cats and dogs, with one graphic video showing a health worker in a hazmat suit beating a small dog to death, according to an April 9 report from the Sun.

“He’s going to beat the dog to death,” the woman filming the video can be heard saying. “Heavens! That’s too cruel.”

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 are placed into quarantine, apparently leaving some who are unable to care for their pets feeling that they have no option but to release them onto the street, according to a CNN report from April 8.

While China reported just over 14,000 deaths to WHO since January 2020, the U.S. has reported almost 1 million deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Shanghai’s most recent outbreak has seen 26,000 new cases, according to Bloomberg.

Still, Shanghai’s decision to ease lockdown restrictions stands in stark contrast with the confident centrally-planned communal grocery delivery system rolled out on April 8, which was referred to as “group buy,” according to Reuters.

The government system was implemented in order to provide supplies to the millions of residents confined to their quarters, following the imposition of the city wide lockdown on April 5, according to the BBC.

However, even from the outset of the extended lockdown, residents have been up in arms, with one viral video from April 5 purportedly showing a drone commanding residents to stop protesting after they called out their windows for supplies.

“Please comply with COVID restrictions. Control your soul’s desire for freedom,” a hovering drone announces. “Do not open the window or sing.”

‘Arbitrary Enforcement’

Shanghai’s government has been acting in accordance with the nation’s strict zero-COVID policy, a strategy intended to eliminate transmissions, according to a National Institute of Health report.

Despite the zero-COVID policy, China remains unable to completely contain the virus, leading some, such as the U.S. State Department, to urge travelers to reconsider trips to China “due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related restrictions.”

Meanwhile, the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou reported a spike in COVID-19 cases on Monday, according to the Associated Press, but as of yet no lockdown has been announced.

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