Food Donated to Chinese City Under COVID-19 Lockdown Is Wasted or Stolen by Authorities

Food Donated to Chinese City Under COVID-19 Lockdown Is Wasted or Stolen by Authorities
Customers wear masks in a market in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, on Jan. 23, 2020. (Getty Images)

Food donated to a Chinese city under COVID-19 lockdown in China’s Hubei Province is not being distributed to those who really need them, and many people have turned to social media to express their anger over the situation.

After several weeks of lockdown due to the deadly coronavirus spreading, hospitals, quarantine centers, and households started to experience food shortages. But more than a thousand tons of vegetables donated by Guizhou Province to Ezhou City in Hubei Province, was stolen by authorities or left rotting in warehouses.

Only a small amount of goods went to the markets, where they’re being sold to the public at high prices, according to various posts on Chinese social media.

Police and Their Families Have ‘More Than They Can Eat’

A family member of an employee of the Phoenix Police Station in Echeng District posted a video on social media on Feb. 18, in which she showed the donations her family received from the police station, including four boxes of fruits, lots of vegetables, and eggs. The woman said it’s “more than they can eat,” and so she took three boxes of goods to her parents’ home.


Another Wechat user, who is an official’s wife, posted a list of supplies gifted to her family, including six barrels of oil, a bag of cherry tomatoes, a bag of vegetables, four bags of rice, and hundreds of face masks. The cherry tomatoes came from an employee of the Phoenix Police Station. All the supplies came from the Guizhou donation. She wrote, “Blame your husband for not being an official!”

Many Locals Go Hungry While Food Rots

A large amount of food donations were seen rotting in warehouses, instead of being distributed to the many residents that desperately need them.

The post “vegetables donated by Guizhou to Ezhou rot in warehouses” is trending on social media. Several photos taken by Ezhou residents show large amounts of vegetable donations from Guizhou rotting in a warehouse. There are also photos showing police moving dozens of boxes of vegetables into their vehicles.

Donated goods rotting in a warehouse. (Courtesy of Sina Blog user Lacey)
Donated goods rotting in a warehouse. (Courtesy of Sina Blog user Lacey)

The news sparked outrage among Ezhou residents, with many sharing their experiences and observations online.

Below are some of their posts:

“I live in Ezhou. Why didn’t I see my share of vegetables from the donation? It turns out, here they are! My family spends nearly 200-300 yuan ($28.5-$42.7) a day to buy vegetables now.”

“I live in the urban area of Ezhou. There are no free vegetables. The vegetable bag priced at 50 yuan ($7.10) only has a small amount. No fruits for sale in grocery stores at all.”

“I know that Ezhou has received the materials donated by Guizhou, but our community did not even see a vegetable leaf.”

“Two of my best friends are both from Ezhou. They can’t buy any food at all and have been eating egg noodles for 20 days.”

“I’m from Ezhou. I haven’t had any vegetables for 6 days.”

“Ezhou medical staff pay for their own food, and it’s all vegetables! Yet some family members (of the police) are able to take 4 boxes of produce at one time. Isn’t this outrageous?”

Guizhou residents also expressed their anger on social media:

“We are so poor. Many impoverished counties have been squeezed to make donations. Do they have any conscience?”

“So infuriating! Hezhang is designated as a state-level poverty-stricken county. We donated so much, yet the supplies were not distributed into the hands of citizens!”

According to arrangements by authorities, Guizhou is responsible for supporting Ezhou. Since Feb. 1, officials from Guizhou Province have transported thousands of tons of vegetables, meat, poultry, and other supplies to Ezhou City, Chinese state media reported.

Donated goods rotting in a warehouse. (Courtesy of Sina Blog user Lacey)
Donated goods rotting in a warehouse. (Courtesy of Sina Blog user Lacey)

On Feb. 15, 14 trucks from Anshun City, Guizhou Province, arrived in Ezhou, according to Chinese state media. The trucks were loaded with 160 tons of farm goods, including cattle, pigs, chickens, eggs, mushrooms, cabbages, green radishes, leeks, and hotbed chives.

A netizen tracked down the information of donated goods transported from Guizhou to Ezhou, based on media reports and public notices. At present, the whereabouts of about 1,500 tons of vegetables have not been accounted for by officials.