Without Warning, Visiting Chinese Become Trapped in City Under Lockdown

By Gu Xiaohua
Gu Xiaohua
Gu Xiaohua
and Zhang Yujie
Zhang Yujie
Zhang Yujie
August 11, 2021 Updated: August 11, 2021

More than 30 college students have been trapped under lockdown in Yangzhou city during their summer internship, due to a surge in CCP virus infections. An unknown number of other visitors were also affected when the city unexpectedly announced the lockdown.

On July 28, local officials announced outbreaks in “hotspots” and initiated the lockdown in the main urban area of Yangzhou city in eastern China. Since then, many visitors to the city have been forced to face difficult situations without governmental help.

A Chinese Epoch Times reporter learned that travelers were trapped in the city and tormented by ever-growing charges for room and board, on top of the risk of losing their jobs.

The Unexpected Lockdown

Yangzhou officials reported a total of 346 confirmed local cases between July 28 and Aug. 8, and also confirmed that a worker had infected 23 people. Chinese state-run media revealed that Yangzhou initiated its fifth round of nucleic acid testing on Aug. 9.

The city suspended public transportation such as intercity buses and airline services on July 21. Those wishing to use transportation via railway must present a negative nucleic acid test to get on board. Stricter lockdown measures were implemented on Aug. 3.   

More than 30 third-year students from a university in Xi’an started their internships in Yangzhou city on July 10, with the original plan to end on Aug. 6, but they are now forced to stay.

A student surnamed Wu told an Epoch Times reporter on Aug. 9 that the authorities initially required that a valid nucleic acid test be taken within 48 hours before leaving the city. After students took the test receiving negative results at their own expense ($12.33 per person), they were told that all traffic was banned.

Wu said, “Maybe the city is in an urgent state. The situation seems serious, all activity is halted.”

Epoch Times Photo
Amid the country’s most widespread coronavirus outbreak in months, a resident receives a nucleic acid test for the Covid-19 coronavirus in Yangzhou in China’s eastern Jiangsu Province, on Aug. 1, 2021. (STR/AFP via Getty Images/China OUT )

Running Out of Food

Mr. Sun and his wife are visitors from Shandong. They first encountered a typhoon and then became stranded in the epidemic.

He complained, “No one notified us of the closure of the city, and the government didn’t pay attention to the stranded tourists … this is, life or death, it’s my own business.”

Sun said that if a nearby supermarket keeps closing, many people in the neighborhood will starve to death.

He and his wife have been relying on instant noodles to get by.

“My wife and I will eat instant noodles when we are hungry. That’s it, just wait and eat nothing. It’s sickening just to look at the instant noodles,” Sun said.

Running out of cash, the couple are also worrying about losing their jobs. They both work in an oil refinery company. Their trip has lasted longer than expected. His boss only told him that they’ll talk about it when he returns.

Sun said there are many visitors in Yangzhou. Although he doesn’t know exactly how many visitors are in the city, Sun said the hotel he stays in is full.

The Soaring Hotel Cost

Mr. Liu was on a business trip but got trapped in Yangzhou during the transit flight home.

He said that the airport shut down on the evening of July 30 when he was waiting for a connecting flight home. He managed to find a business hotel at a cost of $20 per night.

Within two days, the cost of the hotel room rose to $30.83 a night.

He relocated to another hotel more than two miles away. But that hotel also raised the cost to $30.83 on Aug. 6.

He called the mayor’s hotline to complain about the soaring cost. When he finally received an answer, he was only told that the government had no right to interfere with the market price.

He complained to the Civil Affairs Bureau, which recorded his complaint, but all he could get was a list of nearby hotels.

Although he will get reimbursed for the trip, there’s a limit on hotel costs of $23.12 or less.

Epoch Times Photo
Aerial view of a restricted residential area due to the COVID-19 coronavirus in Yangzhou, in China’s eastern Jiangsu Province, on Aug. 3, 2021. (STR/AFP via Getty Images/China OUT)

Liu explained that he’s lucky to find a homestay and the owner didn’t seem to have the intention to raise the cost. He said that he’s now staying at a cost of $20 a night while other online offers have gone up to $38.54.

He said that many communities and roads in Yangzhou city are now blocked, and only the avenues can be accessed. There is no means of transportation or shared bicycles. He can only walk on foot.

According to official news on Aug. 10, residential communities in some areas of Yangzhou have further upgraded their management controls. There is only one entrance and exit in or out of the community, and residents are strictly controlled 24 hours a day. As of Aug. 11, some residents of Yangzhou city have been quarantined at home for two weeks.

Gu Xiaohua
Gu Xiaohua
Zhang Yujie
Zhang Yujie