‘Everything’s Fake’: Top Chinese Official Heckled by Sealed-In Wuhan Residents During Visit

March 5, 2020 Updated: March 31, 2020

Residents in the coronavirus epicenter of Wuhan who have been sealed inside their buildings for more than a month have adopted a new way to vent their frustrations.

During a March 5 visit to a residential compound in the central Chinese city by a team of officials, including Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, locals greeted them by yelling complaints from inside their buildings.

“It’s fake, everything’s fake!” One woman shouted out her window, according to a video provided by a neighbor.

“The vegetables we commoners eat are all overpriced,” someone else shouted in another video, which has since circulated on Chinese social media.

Many other residents joined in the shouting, which didn’t end until the officials, who all were wearing masks and black or pink jackets, exited the neighborhood in the Qingshan district.

One man, who filmed another video from the building above the officials, was impressed by the number of people who joined in the protests from their windows.

“Normally, you don’t see a soul,” the man said in the video.

The residents’ shouts seemed to have an effect on the inspection team, which appeared to include more than 40 members. The video showed them pausing in front of the man’s building and talking among themselves for roughly a minute before moving on.

On WeChat, a major Chinese social media platform, people bemoaned their struggles and expressed outrage toward local property management officials.

Grocery items and other necessities have become scarce in Wuhan since the government sealed the buildings on Jan. 23. Residents have been primarily relying on neighborhood committees and group buying for daily items. Depending on the district, residents only may be able to leave their home once every three days for groceries, or not at all.

In a WeChat group chat seen by The Epoch Times, a resident said that on the day of the visit, property management wouldn’t let the residents of the building go downstairs. They said that management also arranged for volunteers to pretend to deliver food to them. That led residents to voice their grievances, the person wrote.

In a message that immediately followed, the person said that local officials were admonished for the incident.

As a result, “a large number of neighborhood committee officers have come to collect feedback door-to-door in our community,” the person wrote.

Reports from Chinese state media corroborated the information.

Sun ordered provincial and city officials to “get a thorough understanding of the situation,” and a meeting was convened between local officials and the outbreak response agency about four hours later, according to Xinhua, a state news agency.

CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS
Residents delivering foods over a wall closing off a street in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on March 3, 2020. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

In a separate conversation, a local resident explained that all officials could see during their brief inspection tour was “fake,” while inside the residential buildings, the hallways are “filthy and cluttered.”

Many Chinese netizens applauded the residents’ show of defiance.

“This is an unconventional way to defend your rights during the outbreak,” one person wrote on Chinese social media.

“Unveiling ‘emperor’s new clothes’ on the spot,” another said.

Zhang, a Wuhan resident, said that the Chinese Communist Party prioritizes maintaining its power above all else. Zhang’s first name is being withheld for her safety.

“What saddens my heart the most is that the outbreak control measures are purely a form of repression,” she told The Epoch Times. “Without freedom of speech, and without letting the majority know the truth, it’s basically anesthetizing people and forcing people to comply.”

Pan, a father of two in Wuhan, hasn’t been able to leave his apartment since his father was diagnosed with the disease and local officials sealed his door.

Being short on cash, and with food prices skyrocketing, he wondered how many more days he could carry on.

“Even if I want to go begging for food, I wouldn’t know where to go,” Pan said.

Zhang said the officials’ heavy-handed approach in containing the virus is “against human nature.”

“They would rather let people starve to death at home,” she said.

Follow Eva on Twitter: @EvaSailEast