November 28, 2022

Chinese citizens running out of food, essentials amid harsh Covid-19 curbs – Times of India

BEIJING: China’s heavy-handed and draconian approach to handling Covid-19 lockdowns has left millions of its residents struggling to meet basic daily needs, said a media report.
In its report, The HK Post reported that two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, the Chinese government is failing to provide its people with essential supplies even as it imposes on them stringent curbs bordering on human rights abuse.
The HK Post highlighted the case of the city of Xi’an, which has been under a harrowing lockdown since December 23 last year. Complaints about terrible food shortages and critical patients facing severe distress in face of supply and administrative issues have been pouring in from this Xi’an city of nearly 13 million residents.
Many have complained online that they were surviving on a bowl of porridge a day and were on the brink of starvation. Even while admitting that there were problems in providing essential supplies to the locals, officials initially refused to budge from the position that “the total supply of daily necessities in Xi’an is sufficient”, said the report.
According to the report the people then took to social media, claiming that they were not being allowed to leave their housing compounds while they ran out of food. “How do we live? What do we eat? Days ago, we could go out once to buy groceries but that’s been cancelled.
All online grocery apps are either sold out or not delivering,” a user wrote on the Weibo platform. “In 2020 as well, Wuhan, another Chinese city considered the epicentre of the pandemic, was also put under a similar lockdown.” Nearly 11 million people were restricted and confined to their houses for many traumatic months.
The 13 million-person lockdown in Xi’an is now China’s largest since Wuhan, The HK Post reported. Just like Wuhan, the city of Xi’an is now also facing the brunt of China’s top-down political system and the “whatever it costs” approach to achieve its zero-Covid policy goal. “No one cares what you die of other than Covid-19,” a user wrote on Chinese social media.
In the Gushi province of Henan, only one symptomatic and one asymptomatic case was reported. And yet, nearly 1 million residents cannot leave the town. Similar curbs have been put in place in Xuchang, where 1 million residents of Yuzhou city are under lockdown.
The authorities have also put the Anyang city under curfew after 58 Covid-19 cases emerged while the movement of as many as 14 million people in Tianjin has been clamped down after 21 Covid-19 cases were reported from the city, the report noted.
Meanwhile, on January 8 this year, Xi’an residents were in for another unpleasant surprise. It turned out that Hema fresh food delivery apps stopped offering online purchases “in accordance with the government’s pandemic control demands”.
Owned by the Alibaba group, Hema Xiansheng was one of the few grocery stores that were delivering food in many districts of Xi’an. Authorities claimed that violation of sanitation rules was reported from several branches of the supermarket chain. But the netizens erupted in anger. “It’s shameless.
During the outbreak in Xi’an, the only company that provided us with food is again being investigated,” a Weibo user wrote. Taking advantage of the situation, the remaining outlets increased their prices manifold, The HK Post reported.

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