Food shortage hits China’s capital on lockdown

Food shortage hits China's capital on lockdown

Xi’an’s 13 million residents have struggled since the city was locked down two weeks ago after 127 coronavirus cases.

The city of Xi’an, famous for its attractions such as the Terracotta Army, has been tightly closed since the first casualties were announced in mid-December. Only goods and emergency services can enter the city, while residents have to stay at home.

Security guards at the door of every apartment complex and millions of security cameras must ensure that the number of casualties in Xi’an drops again quickly. Because so far, the city has recorded a total of more than 1,600 infections in the past two weeks. Astronomical numbers, in a country where the goal is ‘zero infection’.

However, there is still a glimmer of hope: 101 infections were recorded yesterday, which is the lowest daily number so far. It is not currently clear if this is related to the omikron variant.

In addition to infection, there are concerns about food shortages. Xi’an usually gets a lot of food from other parts of China, but the lockdown has led to supply problems. The residents are therefore complaining on social media that they eat less food, and that some of them sleep hungry.

The local government says the problem will be resolved, but many residents think it’s not going fast enough. On social media, they made a comparison with Wuhan at the start of 2020: ‘nothing but fear, anger and despair,’ according to a resident on Twitter.

Desperation is evident when the population goes out against the rules to get food from somewhere. Pictures were shared this weekend of a desperate man who tried to leave his residential area, but had to pay for it by beating up local prevention workers.

The incident was filmed from above by a local resident, and it sparked outrage. The fact that the authorities quickly announced the measures did not ease the unrest. Residents are still talking about chaos and fear on social media.

Tragic stories about the lack of care are also widely circulated. Millions of people read on Weibo on Monday about a resident who wanted to take his father to the emergency room after he had a heart attack. There was no hospital in the city that wanted to accept him, because he was living in a danger zone. The man did not survive.

These kinds of stories are shared en masse, and they show another aspect of China’s tough coronavirus policy: success in keeping infection rates low, but sometimes with tragic, unexpected consequences.

This is while China will organize the Winter Olympics within a month. The ruling Communist Party confirms its success in fighting Corona, which should ensure a great Winter Games.

However, the situation in Xi’an shows that this strict country is not yet out of Corona’s problems. But a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman recently confirmed that “the Winter Games are going forward and will be a huge success.”

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