As Shanghai’s fiery lawsuits collapse, China’s restrictions tighten

Chinese authorities are tightening coronavirus restrictions in Shanghai and Beijing, following a message from the country’s top leadership to double down on its zero-Covid strategy.

In Shanghai, where residents have been closed since April 1, private food delivery services have been suspended in some neighborhoods although cases have fallen to a six-week low. Some residents have been asked not to step outside of their homes and the government will help deliver groceries.

In Beijing, where the daily number of cases rose to 74 on Monday, officials announced that schools would be closed indefinitely and many of the city’s office workers were asked to work from home. . Other cities around China continue to pursue various forms of partial or total lockdown.

The tightening comes even as China’s daily count is at its lowest since mid-March, with a total of 3,426 new cases nationwide reported on Monday. Local officials have on high alertHowever, since the country’s top leader, Xi Jinping, has urged the country to stick to its strategy of eradicating the virus and not to allow criticism of the approach. Now, alone in the zero-Covid strategyChina has used its success in keeping infection and death rates low to claim that its centralized management approach prioritizes saving more lives than democracies have had. More deaths than Covid.

There were other signs on Tuesday that city life remained at a standstill in Shanghai, where the last two subway lines resumed running during the citywide lockdown. stop working.

City residents also said they could be sent to government isolation facilities if anyone in their building is infected with the coronavirus. Previously, only people living on the same floor as someone who tested positive were required to visit a government facility.

The rigid policy is attracting more complaints and small protests have simmered online, and there have been accounts of residents being brutally attacked by pandemic workers.

In his message last week, Mr. Xi urged officials not to tolerate criticism.

Videos of protests and conflicts between residents and medical staff in Shanghai were posted on Chinese social media and quickly went viral. Dissenting voices were also quickly silenced. An economist has warned of the economic consequences that have frozen his public social media accounts. An article by a law professor saying that it was illegal to force people who tested positive to go to the hospital was laundered; His social media accounts were also suspended.

Residents have expressed concerns about being sent to a government facility where conditions exist can be very bad. Video of police and medical staff pulling people out of their apartments went viral online before being censored.

In a widely shared video verified by The New York Times, a man in a hazmat suit approaches a resident’s window, points at her and asks her to go talk to the police. in front of my house.

The woman was later seen trying to talk to the men through her front door, but some of them broke through the door and forced in. basis. They told her that she had violated the Covid prevention policies and that they had an order from the epidemic prevention agency to transfer her to an isolation facility. As the exchange heated up, she took out her phone to call the police.

One of the men replied, “If you call the police, I’ll still be the one to come.”

Isabelle Qiancontribution reports, and Claire Fu research contributions.

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