Shanghai’s streets are still largely empty. The only people who can move around the city in a normal way are the police officers, health care workers and the couriers who deliver groceries. But a week ago, there was also some light relaxation of part of the population: in some areas, for example, one person per family is allowed to leave the residential area for a few hours.
The same is true of Smid: “And then it is good to walk in the neighborhood again after two months of seclusion. But in our case it is only three hours, and then a maximum of two times in a period of ten days. And a no mobilization on the balcony, because no There is absolutely nothing open.”
The city is sticking to this strict policy because it fears a new outbreak of the disease. According to Shanghai municipality, a few new infections are added every day. But it is not enough to reopen apartment complexes, shops and restaurants.
Practically speaking, it’s the sub-district leaders who keep things closed, says Smid: “They are terrified of an outbreak in their district. And they are judged based on that. So it’s better for them not to take the risk and keep the case closed.”
This leads to great frustration among the population. Many small-scale protests occur in the city almost every day. Bloomberg News reported this week that employees of one of Apple’s suppliers, who have been at the factory for two months, clashed with security guards. Residents also make themselves heard individually: on social media or via protest banners, they tell them they are tired of the situation.
But the resentment goes far beyond small protests: many people are simply tired of Shanghai, or even China altogether, and are choosing to rush. A recent survey showed that the majority of arrivals were planning to leave due to the lockdown.
But many Chinese also prefer to leave today rather than tomorrow: when some train lines with Shanghai were restored this week, a huge departure began that continues to this day.
Smaid: “You can see and hear it all around you. A lot of people are tired of Shanghai. They thought they lived in the newest city in China, with all the amenities and comfortable lifestyle that come with it. But the lockdown brought that idea.. smashed into Its cruelty and cruel policy towards humans and animals left a deep wound.”
According to experts, the psychological damage is enormous. According to a recent survey, up to 40 percent of the population of 26 million suffer from symptoms of depression.
This recession is also partly due to the economic uncertainty that the lockdown brings. Smaid: “I also see many people around me who can no longer simply earn money as a result of the closure. People who, for example, work in small shops or are self-employed. For many, sitting at home means a huge loss of income.”
State media paint a rosy picture
At the same time, Chinese state media are trying to make the situation look more optimistic than it is: reports of a slow return to normal are playing in a gentle tone on television and on the Internet. Smid: “The funny thing is that you, as a resident, hardly notice it.”
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