The food crisis in Shanghai, China, is reaching a breaking point due to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) “zero-COVID” policy.
The country’s supply chains have been scrambled by the lockdown of dozens of cities due to outbreaks of the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron. Now, as a result, millions of residents of Shanghai and other cities are struggling to find food, with delivery drivers and supply trucks difficult to be found, according to Axios.
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Shanghai has been in lockdown since March 28. CCP officials essentially shut down the city to conduct mass testing of residents. Those who tested positive, even if asymptomatic, were sent to quarantine facilities for up to two weeks. When those facilities began to fill up, some of the infected were simply locked in their homes or apartment buildings and not allowed to leave.
With little economic activity taking place in the city, food shipments and deliveries have ground to a halt. Journalists have had difficulty reporting from the ground in the authoritarian country, but social media posts have flooded in from residents describing rationing food and struggling to find meals, according to Axios.
“It’s the first time in my life I’ve had to worry about securing food,” one Shanghai-based executive said to the Financial Times. “Now, I’m worried we’ll run out of milk for our kids.” (RELATED: The Countries That Locked Down The Hardest Are Now Being Decimated By COVID-19)
Other residents have told stories of bartering for food, such as trading a pack of biscuits for a bag of rice. One resident, Guan Zejun, posted a picture of an almost-empty box of supplies and begged the government for help. “I’m used to the feeling of being hungry now,” he told The New York Times. “I never expected that in the 21st century, in a big city like Shanghai, I would experience what my grandparents’ generation lived through, of not being able to fill my stomach.”
Even the richest citizens in the global financial hub are on the hunt for groceries. One top venture capitalist in the city shared on social media platform WeChat that he was searching for bread anywhere he could find it, according to Bloomberg. (RELATED: How Lockdowns Brought China’s Second Largest City To The Brink Of Anarchy)
Shanghai, home to 26 million residents, is one of the world’s richest cities. It isn’t the only one which has suffered under CCP lockdown. In December, photos showed residents of Xi’an starving due to pandemic restrictions. More recently, a video emerged from Tianjin reportedly showing a husband committing suicide and killing his wife after his business was destroyed by pandemic restrictions.
Restrictions were eased slightly Monday, with about a quarter of the city’s residents being allowed to leave their homes. However, some of them are not allowed to travel outside their neighborhood, and commercial activity is still highly limited, according to Axios.
Some resistance to the CCP measures has developed. Shanghai residents have been filmed screaming out their windows at night in protest, and some have reportedly attacked government medical workers conducting mass testing and enforcing quarantine. But the communist party maintains a tight grip on society, and government drones have been recorded purportedly flying through the city telling residents to remain calm and resist their “soul’s desire for freedom.”