Chinese Citizens Decry Extreme Lockdown Measures in Latest Virus Epicenters

Chinese Citizens Decry Extreme Lockdown Measures in Latest Virus Epicenters
Residents wait for groceries delivered to an entrance of a sealed residential compound, after new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Dalian city, Liaoning Province, China, on July 23, 2020. (China Daily via REUTERS)
Nicole Hao

Amid third-wave CCP virus outbreaks in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang and northeastern city of Dalian, authorities enacted strict quarantine rules, with some residents being harshly punished for breaking regulations.

Some who spoke to The Epoch Times criticized authorities for their draconian measures.

Since the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi was locked down on July 16, residents told the Chinese-language Epoch Times that their everyday lives have been severely restricted. Authorities told them they cannot post online about the outbreak.

On Aug. 11, Urumqi resident Li Qiang said he and his neighbors tested twice for COVID-19. They tested negative, but authorities did not notify them about when they can leave home freely after being isolated for 27 days.

“We are more and more anxious. We can’t go out the door and can’t earn any money,” Li said.

In the lockdown, residents only can buy food from online stores or by ordering from government-approved volunteers.

Due to lack of food supplies, “food is very expensive, especially meat and fruit,” said Li. Meat was about $4.9 per pound in late July, and now is $6.4 per pound.

Li said that he bought some grapes about 10 days ago, which was $1.3 per pound. In August 2019, the price in Urumqi was $0.65 per pound, according to the city’s commerce bureau.

Some Urumqi residents were unable to bear the long-term quarantine and left their homes— and were punished by authorities as a result.

City authorities warned residents of the consequences in a video posted on social media on Aug. 12, in which four people were forced to stand under the baking sun because they disobeyed city quarantine rules.

Lockdown measures also angered residents in Dalian, where there is also a third wave outbreak.

On Aug. 7, the city government announced that city police punished 52 people who were involved in four outbreak-related criminal cases and 38 outbreak-related “administrative cases.”

Authorities said the 52 people did not follow government lockdown rules.

Li Ping (pseudonym), a resident at the Daoxin Jiayuan residential compound in Dalian Bay, said on Aug. 12 that authorities monitor residents to make sure they stay at home, using security guards and drones.

Residents in Dalian Bay are not allowed to leave their homes. Anyone who violates the rule would be detained for seven to 15 days, Li Ping said.

Li Ping said her residential complex was required to test for COVID-19 four times. “The restrictions are getting tighter and tighter… You can’t even throw the trash out now...The drones are monitoring us. It can capture whether there were people outdoors.”

Li Ping also said food was extremely expensive, and that many lost their jobs during the pandemic.

On the online platform authorities set up, eggs are 10 yuan per 500 gram (about $1.31 per pound), and peaches are five yuan (about $0.72) for one. “But the ones you get are often rotten,” she said.

With the lockdown stretching into weeks, Li Ping said her nearly four-year-old daughter was getting anxious. “She keeps telling me that she wants to see the sea and meet her friends downstairs,” she said.

A Dalian resident also shared a video with The Epoch Times shot at his residential compound on Aug. 1. A man planned to pick up food he ordered from a private service, but was caught by security guards soon after he left the compound.

Security guards subdued him. When police arrived, he was sent to a detention center for five days. During the process, a guard tore open the man’s T-shirt and he was pinned to the ground.

Nicole Hao is a Washington-based reporter focused on China-related topics. Before joining the Epoch Media Group in July 2009, she worked as a global product manager for a railway business in Paris, France.