Depressed, powerless, angry: Why frustration at China’s zero-Covid is spilling over

By | November 27, 2022

The Observer reports:

Victoria Li* has experienced several lockdowns since Covid emerged in China almost three years ago. Being a prisoner in her own home in Beijing made her feel depressed, powerless and angry.

“Being stuck at home with my door sealed, I felt unmotivated to do anything,” she said. “I didn’t want to work, I didn’t want to study. Sometimes, I crept into my bed and cried,” said the lawyer, who is in her 20s.

Even when she was not in lockdown, the draconian restrictions upended her normal life.

After a colleague tested positive, Li was deemed a close contact and lost her green health code for a month, meaning she was barred from public places. “I wasn’t able to enter the markets or the shops. I couldn’t go to the office,” she said. “It affected my work too – business was bad and my boss became bad tempered.” Longing for a normal life, Li has recently applied to emigrate to Canada.

As Beijing’s iron-fisted “dynamic zero-Covid” policy prepares to enter its third year, Li is one of millions across China who have reached the end of their patience. As the numbers of daily cases hit an all-time high, many began to question the heavy price they have paid for a goal that is impossible to achieve.

On Wednesday, the national health commission reported 31,444 new locally transmitted cases, the highest daily figure since the coronavirus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.

Although China’s case numbers are low compared with global figures, the authorities have insisted on a “war of annihilation” against the virus. As China reported the first Covid deaths in six months last week, a fresh series of lockdowns has been imposed across the country.

The rare outbursts of public anger that have surfaced over the past two weeks are the most visible signs of the deep-seated frustration and scepticism over the endless lockdowns, mass testing and quarantines Chinese people have recently endured. [Continue reading…]

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