Tensions between Shanghai residents and China's Covid enforcers are on the rise again, amid a new push to end infections outside quarantine zones to meet President Xi Jinpings demand for achieving "dynamic zero-Covid". Videos shared on China's social media platforms showed suspected Covid-positive patients forcibly quarantined in central facilities, the Guardian reported.
In some neighbourhoods, a single positive case could lead to residents in the entire apartment building being sent for quarantine. Censors have been taking down many of these videos, but determined residents have continued to post them. Past speeches by top officials and legal scholars have resurfaced in which they speak of the importance of the rule of law. These speeches have been shared and reposted on social media to express disapproval of government policy, The Guardian reported.
Last week, Xi reiterated that his government had no intention of turning away from the controversial zero-Covid commitment, in a major speech to the country's senior cadres. He urged officials to "unswervingly adhere to the general policy of dynamic zero-Covid" and warned against any criticism or doubting of the policy. Over the weekend, residents in at least four of Shanghai's 16 districts reported receiving notices that told them they would no longer be able to receive food deliveries or leave their homes, prompting numerous complaints on social media.
"The virus itself is no longer scary, but the way the government enforced the policy has become the most frightening thing," said one Shanghai resident, who wished to remain anonymous.
"We had thought the lockdown could be eased this month, but now there's no end in sight again," the Guardian quoted the resident as saying. In the past few days, a number of videos shared on social media showed that health officials, also called 'Dabai', or "Big Whites" due to their white hazmat suits, entered residents' homes and sprayed disinfectants everywhere. This practice outraged many residents, who questioned the legality. Others asked whether such a measure had any scientific basis.