In the latest lockdown, approximately 12,000 residents immediately fled Baishizhou, an urban village of Shenzhen. Local authorities issued urgent notices to demand surrounding areas to not take in those who seek shelter.
Baishizhou began a second lockdown on July 18. Local authorities adopted a 7-day closure of the communities, and residents started to flee the area that evening.
Residents explained to the Chinese language edition of The Epoch Times that people were left with no choice but to escape, “People need to work,” many said.
A ‘Floating’ Population
Baishizhou is known as the largest urban village in Shenzhen, a global manufacturing hub in southeastern China.
It’s populated with mainly migrant workers due to the affordable housing in the area.
Chinese migrant workers generally endure similar circumstances: They are peasants who don’t have permanent house registration in the city, and thus are known as part of a floating population; the majority of them rely on low-paid jobs and lack social welfare.
The lockdown policy has a drastic impact on their livelihood.
Mr. Liang, a local resident, explained that stores were closed for days before the authorities announced the closure of the areas. People were restricted from leaving their homes. “People fled because they needed to make a living.”
Mr. Zhao, a resident in a neighboring town, said that local authorities have issued text messages to tell those who fled the area to return for quarantine.
“It is true that many people have fled Baishizhou, but the hotels and local communities were warned not to take them in,” Zhao said.
As a result, many people were forced to sleep on the streets, for fear of being restricted at home and losing their income, according to Zhao.
Official Warning to Follow Zero-Covid
Chinese media reported that the latest outbreak in Shenzhen was mainly localized in Baishizhou, where 14 confirmed cases and 5 asymptomatic infections were identified on July 18.
After the outbreak, many urgent notices issued by local authorities on the 19th and 20th were put online.
“It’s noted that to follow the zero-Covid policy, residents should comply with a valid PCR test within 24 hours, and a strict closure for 72 hours; the authorities will hold those who provide shelter to the fleeing residents accountable, including friends and relatives.”
The notices were in particular addressed to landlords and those who sublet their rented premises.
Gu Qinger and Hong Ning contributed to this report.