Locked-down, starving Shanghai residents can’t complain online • The Register


The more than 25 million residents of the Chinese city of Shanghai are warned not to spread online rumors or complain about conditions during the strict and continuous COVID-19 lockdowns imposed since March 28.

The Shanghai Office of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has warned citizens against spreading false information in a announcement on Friday after rumors started popping up on WeChat that armed police would take over the city and buying food in bulk would be banned. Residents were not allowed to leave their homes, not even to shop for basic necessities: they need food delivered.

By April 8, Beijing had apparently resolved some of its messaging issues. Hashtags on WeChat discussing food shortages, such as “scramble to secure food in Shanghai” (#上海抢菜#) and “worries over food supply in Shanghai” (#上海疫情下的抢菜焦虑#) Would’ve been blocked.

The hashtags were trending as citizens faced food shortages, despite the government delivering boxes of food to official and registered residents.

Concerns have been raised about the fate of unofficial residents, the elderly and large households. Many confined people have spent a lot of time looking for food on online apps. But availability has sometimes disappeared in moments, increasing anxiety about food security.

“In other words, the basic livelihoods of people in Shanghai are now in great trouble, and the vast majority of people in Shanghai spend their whole lives every day looking for channels to get food,” said he added. wrote a Shanghai resident who described the scenario in a Google doc.

“Young people are better off, they can use various software to cast, but many old people can’t even play with their mobile phones, so it’s impossible to expect them to take food online. It is a reality that some people are doing very well under the epidemic, while others are not well and have problems with the security of basic livelihoods,” the individual added before confirming that he also couldn’t search for the #ShanghaiEpidemic topic on Weibo.

The individual described the scenario as “chilling”.

On Sunday April 10, the CAC post a convenient visual display of rumors it finds offensive. Some are related to containment, others are not.

Shanghai is not the only city to receive a stark warning. In Beijing, a sign at the top of a street warns citizens of the dangers lurking on the Internet.

More bizarre stories have emerged from the lockdown, including robodogs guarding the streets, viral threats (and it must be said racist) neighbors to eat each other (they were trying to make a joke… The Reg hopes), pet murdersviral songs on clam dishesand viral recipe suggestions based on whatever was found in the government-issued vegetable box that day.

There were also videos doing the rounds on social media of people shouting and screaming from their apartment windows in Shanghai, frustrated by the lockdown.

Shanghai city official Gu Honghui said residents in areas with no positive cases for a two-week period could soon engage in “appropriate” activities in their neighborhoods. He also said Shanghai would make “dynamic” adjustments to the new system and redouble its efforts to minimize the impact of the restrictions.

On Friday, April 8, state-sponsored media Xinhua mentioned there had been a total of 131,524 positive COVID cases in the city, only one of which was serious. There would have been no fatalities. ®


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