Quality reporting on this incident is spotty, as you might expect from a locked-down city governed by a totalitarian regime. But multiple videos are circulating today all showing different angles of the same scene, a near-riot by angry Shanghaiers squaring off against cops in moon suits outside what’s supposedly the Zhangjiang Nashi International apartment complex in the city’s Pudong district. What I can’t nail down is whether the residents are being kicked out of their own apartments to make room for COVID patients or whether they’re upset that unoccupied units in their complex are being turned over to the sick. I suspect it’s the latter. So does this guy:
I asked some of my OG shanghai neighbors and they said the property developer likely had unfinished buildings in the development & signed a contract with the local gov’t to house overflow quarantine demand, but residents of already-finished units nearby freaked. A theory. 🤷♂️
— David Fishman (@pretentiouswhat) April 14, 2022
Either way, you’d be furious too to learn that infected people were being moved into your complex given the rules in place in Shanghai right now. The extreme paranoia Chinese officials have about people spreading COVID means residents of the complex will almost certainly be locked down indefinitely, just in case they happen to pick up the virus from one of the convalescent patients. And any resident who does happen to contract the disease risks being sent away to a filthy, understaffed centralized quarantine facility until they test negative again.
Imagine being told that COVID patients are moving in next door, knowing that catching the virus from them means you’ll be moving out for awhile.
The residents are imagining it:
THIS VIDEO IS THE SCARIEST l HAVE SEEN THIS YEAR. This is a community in Pudong, Shanghai. In March, 5 buildings had been requisitioned for quarantine, 3days ago residents were told they had to move out that night and 14 buildings would be used as quarantine sites.#COVID #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/xSJbZ1nKQe
— hdland (@hhjx17088578) April 14, 2022
Apr 14, #Shanghai, Zhangjiang, police use violence against residents who oppose the expropriation of their homes to build a #quarantine site. #上海 张江镇，警察暴力对付反对征用民居建隔离点的市民。#CCPChina #CCPvirus #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/74fJRTRc0x
— Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 (@jenniferatntd) April 14, 2022
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) April 14, 2022
One guy has posted a thread of no less than a dozen videos from the scene, which I recommend watching in full. A taste:
Apr 14 afternoon: residents of Zhangjiang Nashi International Community (张江纳仕国际社区), Shanghai protested against the requisition of their apartment buildings by the government for use as quarantine facilities and clashed with the police.
— Byron Wan (@Byron_Wan) April 14, 2022
How widespread this practice might be, I have no idea. There are reports of Shanghai authorities converting office towers into makeshift facilities, though. Given that a 50,000-bed field hospital is also in the works, we’re left to wonder precisely how many patients there are in the city such that authorities need to start converting apartment buildings into quarantine facilities as well.
Why can’t people simply quarantine in their own homes if they’re asymptomatic or mildly ill? Authorities have vowed to deal with anyone caught breaking lockdown rules “strictly” and no doubt they mean it, which is reason enough for those testing positive not to press their luck by venturing outside.
Shanghai is getting all of the media’s attention lately because it’s the site of China’s biggest outbreak, but don’t overlook the fact that many other Chinese cities — as in, 87 out of the 100 most populous — are currently under some form of COVID restriction. The trend is expanding countrywide as cities with minor outbreaks lock down to try to snuff out transmission before they have a Shanghai-scale disaster on their hands:
Strict measures appear to be working in China’s far northeast, where local officials are declaring victory following an extended lockdown. Yet localized lockdowns are being newly imposed, expanded or extended elsewhere in the country, including in parts of the southern megacities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen and the eastern city of Suzhou.
Forty-five Chinese cities with a combined 373 million people had implemented either full or partial lockdowns as of Monday, a sharp increase from 23 cities and 193 million people a week earlier, according to a survey by Nomura. The 45 cities account for more than one quarter of China’s population and roughly 40% of the country’s total economic output…
“All in all, China’s dynamic zero-Covid policy could ravage the Chinese economy if lockdowns continue,” Alicia García Herrero, chief economist for Asia Pacific at investment bank Natixis, wrote in a column for the Asia Times on Wednesday. “Beyond the reduced demand for imports from China, an even more immediate effect is inflation given the world’s dependence on China’s production of intermediate goods.”
Read that again. A population larger than that of the entire United States is currently under partial lockdown due to 29,000 positive tests nationwide, nearly all of them in Shanghai. China wrecked the global economy once by lying about the virus’s transmission among human beings during the original Wuhan outbreak. Now it’s going to wreck it again by insisting on an unsustainable “zero COVID” policy indefinitely.
I’ll leave you with this, a scene that every Chinese citizen lately has imagined eventually playing out in their own apartments.
— Stephen McDonell (@StephenMcDonell) April 13, 2022