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Desperate Residents Protest Shanghai Lockdown: ‘You are driving people to their deaths’

A native of New York, Alina has a Bachelors degree in Corporate Communications from Baruch College and writes about human rights' related issues, politics, tech and society.
Published: April 7, 2022
A police officer (C), wearing a protective gear, controls access to a tunnel in the direction of Pudong district in lockdown as a measure against COVID-19, in Shanghai on March 28, 2022. (Image: HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Shanghai reported a record high of more than 9,000 positive cases in a single day on April 4, with the number of infections seemingly increasing by the hundreds everyday. On April 6, the city of 26 million added 17,007 officially recognized infections, setting a daily record for the fifth consecutive day.

Residents in China’s financial capital are becoming desperate as authorities have yet to give any indication of when the lockdowns, which began on March 28, will end or be loosened.

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Videos circulating on Twitter and the Chinese social media platform Weibo show what appears to be drones hovering in the sky, broadcasting COVID lockdown guidelines to residents under quarantine.

One particular clip shows a drone with red, flashing lights hovering above apartment buildings, broadcasting the following message loudly:

“Everyone, don’t sing songs on your balcony. Songjiang Jiuting Park residents were singing, and then there was a drone coming over to say to control the ‘desire for freedom in one’s soul,’” read the video’s caption.

In this video, a drone is seen flying over buildings, and an automated voice broadcasts the message: “Residents of Jiuting. During the pandemic, we request that you strictly abide by COVID-19 restrictions and related guidelines. Control your soul’s desire for freedom. Do not open the window or sing. This increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission.” (Video: via Twitter)

‘You are driving people to their deaths!’

Some residents held under lockdown for over a month now have taken to social media to show the dreadful situation they are in, as some are driven to the point of insanity. One netizen reported calling Shanghai’s CDC on the phone and said, “You’re forcing me to die!” 

In another video, an elderly resident was seen shouting from a rooftop, “People are going mad! They’re going to jump off the building!” 

 In one video, a resident can be heard shouting about how no help is forthcoming even as people run out of food and water: “The government doesn’t care about us! Help!” and “You are driving people to their deaths!” (Video: via Twitter)

In other videos, desperate residents can even be seen jumping off rooftops as they are driven over the edge.

In a video posted on April 6, a young man from Shanghai’s Putuo District, Shanghai called pandemic staff to complain about the dire situation his family was in, “Can’t you see you’re driving us to our deaths?” The resident then questioned where they are expected to buy food from since all supermarkets are closed.

“What are we supposed to eat and drink?” he said. “How are we expected to survive this?”

He continued saying, “My parents were held under lockdown for two months! And my grandmother who lives alone without anyone taking care of her had nothing to eat!” You are killing us!” the man said in a recorded phone call. 

A man can be heard saying in another video: “We are kept in prison all day like animals. This is worse than the Cultural Revolution,” referencing the fact that China’s extreme fight against COVID is worse than the pandemic itself. (Video: via Twitter)

The Cultural Revolution was an era of communist tumult that lasted from 1966 to 1976 and saw the deaths of between 20,000 to 20 million people from beatings, torture, and suicide.

“I have a bad heart, this is going to kill me,” the man continued, adding that more people would start killing themselves if they were forced to be locked up much longer. 

 In another video, residents can be heard pleading for their lives: “Shanghai does not care about us, Huangpu District does not care about us. The neighborhood committee does not care about us. How can we survive?!” (Video: via Twitter)

Shanghai’s citywide lockdown was scheduled to be conducted in two phases. The city’s Pudong financial district and nearby areas were first placed into lockdown from March 28 to April 1. Authorities said the restrictive measures were put in place in order to allow health workers to conduct at least two rounds of mass testing. 

In the second phase of the lockdown, the vast downtown area west of the Huangpu River that divides the city started its own five-day lockdown lasting from April 1 to April 5.

On the day the lockdowns were scheduled to be lifted however, residents were told that due to the severity of the pandemic and the rapidly growing number of new infections, the measures would be extended until further notice.