The Chinese metropolis of Shanghai has long been burdened by the extreme corona measures taken by the Chinese government. Many people are said to have died during the brutal shutdown because they struggled to get the necessary medical attention. Families of victims are now trying to tell the stories of their deceased loved ones despite the strong censorship.
In the fight against the corona virus, the authorities in the city of Shanghai imposed strict restrictions on the city’s residents. Millions of Chinese were put under strict quarantine, leading to desperate situations. In some cases, the entrances to apartment blocks were closed with two-meter-high green gates.
Because all life in the metropolis came to a complete standstill, food shortages arose in people’s homes. The shops were closed after all, and couriers with food and medicine were also locked or tested positive.
The hospital was closed
For example, there was the story of Zhou Shengni who needed a doctor. The 49-year-old had an asthma attack and was rushed to Shanghai East hospital. When he was there, however, he was told that the hospital was closed when the building was disinfected against the spread of Covid-19. Zhou hurried with his family to another hospital, where unfortunately the help came too late and he died.
Zhou’s death did not turn out to be a unique event. During the closure, hospitals in the city limited themselves to providing emergency care only. In addition, patients in need were given a PCR test first to gain access to life-saving healthcare services.
Censorship works overtime
City health authorities reported 588 deaths related to Covid-19 from February to May. But officials did not count people like Zhou who died as a result of the city’s closure. A discussion of the parallel damage of China’s zero-Covid policy is severely constrained by Chinese censorship working overtime.
For example, Shi You shared an article entitled “Shanghai Deceased”, which reported people from the city who had died as a result of the strict restrictions of the closure. Comments below the article flooded in with messages from people who had experienced similar stories as Zhou.
Casper Yu immediately realized that both the article and the comments below it are important. Residents of Shanghai, Yu, worried that the censors might be hiding crucial evidence, began taking screenshots. A few hours later, the article was removed from WeChat. The screenshots were then posted by Yu on his blog, which has been read by more than 20,000 people.
Yu’s story is one of many examples of several projects that have surfaced online to document the deaths. There is also the cloud service Airtable, where you can find personal descriptions, pictures of dead bodies and pictures of relatives who have since died as a result of the strict lockdown. The database went viral but was quickly blocked on WeChat and Weibo.
In response to the censorship, Shanghai residents are also turning to blockchain, where they store videos, photos and artwork as NFTs. There, they can be freely shared and are safe from Chinese censorship. NFT marketplaces share stories of population hardships, such as food shortages or situations where medical care could not be provided due to corona measures.
Feared green fences reappear in the streets
In recent weeks, there have been reports of easing of blockade measures in the city, but it now appears that Shanghai is not yet completely liberated. In Minhang, a central district of Shanghai, residents have again been quarantined. Residents of the city report that the dreaded green fences have reappeared in the streets.