Xi’an, the ancient capital in China for centuries, began a much stricter containment measure since the Wuhan lockdown two years ago.
The most sweeping measure entered its eighth day as of Dec. 30, affecting 13 million residents who were restricted from going for groceries, when online ordering and delivery services were also gone.
The starving residents sought online help, while police were caught on video arresting residents trying to get food.
In the latest official report on Dec. 29, a total of 1,117 infections have been confirmed since Dec. 9 when the first case was identified in Xi’an, according to Xi’an Release.
Netizens Cry Out for Help
On Dec. 29, a post read, “Fresh produce is out of stock.”
Posts from the starving Xi’an local residents were popular on Chinese social media, Weibo:
“We want food, seriously, there’s none available online; we can’t go out, the building has been sealed for 10 days; even instant noodles are gone. Hungry.”
“The rice was never delivered, for a week. Really sick of steamed buns and noodles. But, they are nearly gone too.”
“The shop was closed in the community so suddenly. There’s no rice, flour, or even salt.”
“I have not had food for two days.”
In the live streaming of a local pandemic press conference on Dec. 29, residents asked to arrange local fresh produce supply, and places to shop, but the spokesperson was only reading out the manuscript, and responded to none of the requests.
Shortly, the online comments were cut off.
Earlier on Dec. 27, the Xi’an official released a list of 12 supermarkets and food companies participating in community group buying.
A netizen responded, “I joined eight chat groups, trying to order online, but it’s already past midnight, still none is available. There are people saying they have received supplies from the government. But, am I not in Xi’an? Is Xi’an in a pandemic or in famine?”
A Wuhan Playback?
On the 29th, the city rolled out city-wide nucleic acid screening; permits to leave home for shopping were issued only with a negative test result being confirmed. Residents should stay home and avoid gathering.
In fact, local residents revealed online that “the groceries once every two days” were already canceled on the 27th, people were banned from going out.
To investigate the seriousness of local lockdowns, the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times contacted several residents in Xi’an. Pseudonyms were used for the security of the interviewees.
Ms. Tian explained that a temporary epidemic shed was built at the gate of the community. Her neighbor was blocked from going out for groceries. She said, “Online ordering has stopped for more than five days.”
Mr. Ma is also concerned about medicine for his diabetes, “the doctor wants me to get fresh veggies, but all I have in stock is a little bit of rice. What can I do?”
He complained about the containment measure, “Xi’an is a big city with tens of millions of people. The lockdown would affect people’s livelihood, what about people giving birth, getting sick, the elderly, and the deaths? What can people do about it?”
He said this confinement at home has stopped all activities. There’s no public transportation, and there’s no one on the street. “Anyone going out without a permit is subject to a collective quarantine.”
His relative working at a local hospital told him that outpatient service was stopped. “I am afraid that the most stringent state of war would not have been as serious as this,” he said.
Ma explained that many local residents tried to leave Xi’an when the city imposed the lockdown, and some were intercepted. “It would be worse for those who have left earlier. They would experience an even worse scenario when they are out of town,” he said, referring to how Wuhan natives were bullied and arrested when they were outside Wuhan during the peak of the Wuhan outbreak.
Ms. Wang said that confirmed cases were reported in every district. The epidemic was serious and the lockdown was imposed in all districts; there’s no sign when the lockdown will be lifted. She said, “There’s no fresh produce, and you can’t go to work. It’s very stressful. A lot of them are man-made troubles.”
Mr. Li, a resident of suburb Xi’an explained, “Those who came back from Xi’an City are all kept isolated.” He said that local residents were subject to nucleic acid tests every two days, and people were banned from leaving home.
The Differential Treatment
On Dec. 27, Xi’an raised a notch on the containment measure: Ban from leaving home and gathering; those who break the rules such as refusing a nucleic acid test, collective isolation, or on-site restriction, could face 10 days’ detention and a fine of 500 yuan ($78).
Some communities even close elevator service without further notice.
The city officially confirmed local police to conduct strict surveillance of people on the streets, impose heavy fines on people arrested and their work units, whose relevant correspondents are subject to criminal charges.
An online video showing a person caught by police with his shopping cart was refuted by the police. The police claimed there’s no arrest, but the person was persuaded to return to the hotel.
Among the many posts asking for food, there’s news that Xi’an received 100,000 catties of cabbage (132,000 lbs), and 10 million supply aids. But netizens responded, “We didn’t get the so-called charity veggies.”
It was quickly realized that the charity supplies went to governmental workers’ residential areas. A post revealed the address where the supplies were delivered to.
Netizens wrote, “Xi’an governmental public relations have done their job well,” and “The leaders must be protected from the hardship; their families must be spared from starving.”
The Epoch Times tried the local hotline for the food supply issue. The operator responded that there were concerns expressed by local residents and relevant departments have been notified.
As for the arrest that took place, there was no relevant information reported.
The operator also indicated that there’s no information on when to lift the ban from leaving home.