Residents Are Terrified As China Brings Back Totalitarian COVID Lockdowns

(Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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Lockdowns are back in China as the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) “zero-COVID” strategy faces yet another wave of infections.

Despite only about 1,500 new infections reported Sunday, roughly 60 million residents across the country are now under full or partial lockdowns, according to Chinese media. Authorities are facing a failure of testing systems, food shortages and a restless populace that has already dealt with several lockdowns, according to the New York Times.

Chengdu, Shenzhen and Daqing are among the cities facing new restrictions. The government-run testing system in Chengdu, a city of 21 million people, has become overwhelmed with testing all of those residents daily, forcing people to wait in line for hours to get swabbed.

Chengdu will continue daily testing under a stay-at-home order for at least three more days, authorities announced Monday. CCP officials have tried to calm unease and unrest, assuring residents that food supply is sufficient.

Prior lockdowns have led to rising unemployment, widespread hunger and social isolation, according to the NYT. Yet the CCP and President Xi Jinping are forging ahead with the “zero-COVID” strategy even as the rest of the world abandons pandemic restrictions. Xi is expected to claim a third term as head of state on Oct. 16.

“Everyone is scared, scared that the situation will become like Shanghai,” an office worker in the city told the NYT. Shanghai faced widespread food shortages and economic turmoil during lockdowns earlier this year.

The CCP, sensing public discontent, has not called the policies lockdowns, instead telling citizens simply to stay at home or calling the policy “universal testing.” On social media, the hashtag “Chengdu lockdown” is being censored. (RELATED: FLASHBACK: One Of Fauci’s Biggest Regrets Was Not Locking Down ‘The Way China Did’ Sooner)

“Everyone only knows what they’re going through, which is that you can’t go outside,” college student Freya Yang told the NYT. “These word games, people don’t really care about them.”

A man was detained for 15 days last week for warning fellow citizens of an impending lockdown, according to the NYT. Officials accused him of spreading panic via social media. Two days after he was detained, the lockdowns were announced and support for him exploded on social media.

In total, 33 cities across China are under some form of lockdown as of Monday, according to Chinese media.