In Shanghai, the night air is full of screams. Locked in skyscrapers since March by Covid health orders, residents have taken to opening their windows and howling at the darkness in terror and starvation. There is no escape from absolute State rule in China. Government drones navigate the horror, using loudspeakers to warn, ‘Please comply with Covid rules. Control your soul’s desire for freedom. Do not open windows to sing.’
This is how a communist regime chooses to describe the anguish of its citizens.
Residents in #Shanghai screaming from high rise apartments after 7 straight days of the city lockdown. The narrator worries that there will be major problems. (in Shanghainese dialect—he predicts people can’t hold out much longer—he implies tragedy).pic.twitter.com/jsQt6IdQNh
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) April 10, 2022
These are not the only distressing clips making their way through China’s digital fortress. Others show a man who has locked himself out on his balcony while at least four individuals in PPE attempt to beat their way through the glass door with sticks and brooms. People’s cats and dogs are put into bags, left on the street and then beaten to death with shovels. In one video, a person in PPE is shown hitting an animal while its owner cries off screen. The attack only stops when the dog’s yelps fall silent.
Hundreds of reports detail residents being removed from their apartments after returning a positive mandatory Covid test, apparently against their will. They are taken into quarantine camps where parents are immediately separated from their children. Other Shanghai residents have run out of critical medicine, particularly the elderly, and died alone in their rooms. An army of PPE-wearing officials arrest members of the public, escorting them through the streets while women cry and lash out at their white suits.
The inhumanity with which people are treated by these faceless authorities, shielded from public scrutiny by their PPE uniform, has shocked even the Chinese. It was too much for some, with many tragically jumping to their deaths from buildings under lockdown. Their bodies litter the pavement, surrounded by more PPE officials who don’t seem to know what to do in the face of self-inflicted graphic violence caused by the cruelty of the State.
The starvation is real. After implementing strict Covid quarantine checks, Shanghai’s supply lines broke down completely. Piles of food have been left to rot on docks and roadsides while residents in the city have nothing to eat. The government is meant to ration food and distribute it, but the trucks rarely can and if they do the food is spoiled. In the past week, some buildings managed to pool their resources and use apps to illegally buy food from wholesalers, circumnavigating the state with a flicker of free-market capitalism.
Those who could not partake put their empty fridges out on the balcony in a silent protest.
Even Shanghai billionaires are going hungry. ‘The Queen of Venture Capital’ Kathy Xu, worth $3.3 billion, took to WeChat looking for bread and milk. ‘My son brought a few classmates to our house and we now have 12 people living together. We have a huge demand for food, so I will also join the buying groups in the neighbourhood,’ she wrote.
Admitting defeat, Chinese authorities dropped quarantine checks on supply vehicles, concerned that the starving population would revolt against authorities if the situation continued any longer.
This whole mess sounds like an unbelievable scenario reminiscent of the early Covid footage leaked out of China two years ago where residents collapsed – dead – on the streets and in the public transport system of Wuhan. Unlike those videos (which are considered to be a mixture of out-of-context security footage and faked propaganda), the current clips from Shanghai are backed up by the testimony of American military personnel stationed in the city who also ran out of food and had to fall back onto ration packs.
Shanghai is being attacked by Omicron, known universally as the weakest strain of Covid on the market. The rest of the world has welcomed Omicron as a relief, using its rise to dominance as a way to remove most health orders and ‘learn to live with Covid’. For the vast majority of all people, Omicron presents a similar risk as the flu – even to the unvaccinated.
How can Omicron free the West and destroy the East?
If China’s Covid statistics are to be believed – and that is a huge if – they remain the last country on Earth to chase the Covid-Zero Utopia.
Doubting the official Chinese line on Covid numbers is a reasonable position. Not only do they have over 1.4 billion people in a mixture of densely-packed cities and poor rural areas, China is Ground Zero for the Covid outbreak, with the creation of Covid traced to the Level 4 Viral Lab in Wuhan. Everything we know about highly contagious respiratory viruses strongly suggests that the Communist Party have cooked the books as part of domestic propaganda, pretending to have the virus under control while the rest of the world kamikazes itself.
It is a belief shared by many Chinese people, some of which were brave enough to hang out of their windows and shout, ‘Fake! Fake! It’s all fake!’ at Vice Premier Sun Chunlan as he toured Wuhan after the pandemic was declared ‘vanquished’. They were referring to the enormous propaganda campaign in Wuhan where the population was bombarded by hundreds of articles and reports about the Communist Party’s success against Covid which sharply contradicted the lived experience of residents. Even the current death figures are being scrutinised, with the BBC reporting that elderly deaths in Shanghai hospitals directly contradict official figures.
Australia has reported 6,777 deaths from Covid during the pandemic. India, with a comparable population and circumstance to China, recorded 522,000 deaths. Russia admits to 366,00 deaths and Japan 28,950. China claims it has 4,638 while sharing unpatrolled land borders with countries reporting uncontrolled outbreaks. Sensibly, almost no one believes Beijing.
What the world is watching take place in Shanghai is more likely the result of the Communist Party’s propaganda eating itself on the way to collapse.
In the first wave, Xi Jinping oversold the threat of Covid – either to disrupt the global economy, scare the domestic population into obeying otherwise-intolerable health orders, or both. Activists accused Beijing of using Covid as an excuse to undertake a political purge. Supporters of freedom and anti-Communist ideas were hauled away by PPE-wearing health officials, sometimes while filming. They were never seen again. Citizens eventually lost patience with the government and turned on the police in near-unheard of violent protests that upturned police cars.
Suddenly, Covid vanished. Beijing announced that Covid had been beaten – all hail the Communist Party… That’s how things stayed for two years, with the Communist Party keeping China under a veil of fear where, at the slightest cough, health officials in PPE carrying assault rifles could descend on an area and drag people away, never to be seen again. In China, it really is ‘Covid Communism’.
Shanghai is what happens when propaganda and facts run out of road.
China has Covid. China can’t tell anyone it has Covid without admitting that it spent the last two years lying to the world and the Chinese people. China must to find a way to transition out of Covid-Zero and into ‘living with Covid’.
Xi Jinping doesn’t have a lot of options – or time. People in Shanghai are starting to revolt against authority and attack health officials to protect fellow citizens while they openly criticise authorities for delivering expired food, something rarely seen under communist rule.
A few days ago, tens of thousands of Shanghai residents broke through barricades in a major protest against the famine. In another area, they were seen ransacking government stockpiles. When health authorities tried to move 39 households out to make way for Covid patients and the housing developer Zhangjiang Group stated it was ‘in order to meet the needs of epidemic prevention and control’ – there was a riot.
‘It’s madness. We never thought this could have happened in Shanghai. Are we no longer China’s window to the world? Aren’t bureaucrats in Shanghai ashamed of what’s been happening in our city in recent weeks?’ said one resident.
Famine brings down communist regimes. No amount of terror or ideological brainwashing can keep a growling stomach at bay.
If you’re a frightened communist government in charge of 1.4 billion angry people and you need to do a U-turn on policy without looking weak or being overthrown, how do you do it?
Well, you might make a public example out of your global city by declaring it has Terrifying Omicron, traumatise the city with health officers until it becomes a dystopian hell hole, let video of the nightmare leak out to the rest of the country, roll out vaccines to the same coverage as the West, and then declare the pandemic over with no need to ever admit to the real statistics. To a Western government, this sort of scenario seems odd, but it allows the Chinese government to look like the powerful (albeit scary) saviours of China.
Xi Jinping (who is hiding on a tropical island) is reported to have said that, ‘Prevention and control work cannot be relaxed.’ The People’s Daily ran the headline Persistence is victory. Beijing appears determined to make a Covid martyr out of Shanghai.
The political situation remains significant. Shanghai is the crucible in which members of the Politburo are forged – and they don’t support Xi Jinping. The Shanghai Clique is a powerful force that were targeted by Xi Jinping in his ‘anti-corruption’ campaign, which was little more than a political cleansing of his rivals. Picking Shanghai as the stage for this tragedy is not only a clever piece of theatre, it stands to weaken one of the strongest political rivals to Xi Jinping’s power.
What if we give China the benefit of the doubt? What if Xi Jinping’s ruthless ‘Dynamic Clearance Policy’ and Covid-Zero Utopia was a reality in the last two years?
If that is the truth, it is even more damning for it reveals the State’s absurd ‘war’ against a respiratory virus has only one way out – to let nature run its course. Those nations that have spent their lives hiding from Covid have only one future – chaos, starvation, violence, and revolution.
Alexandra Marshall is an independent writer. If you would like to support her work, shout her a coffee over at donor-box. She is also a young ambassador for the English Speaking Union and Australians for Constitutional Monarchy.
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