Shanghai censors can not hide stories about the dead | MarketingwithAnoy

ZHOU SHENGNI REQUIRED a doctor, and fast. The 49-year-old, who had an asthma attack, was driven by her family to Shanghai East Hospital, where she worked as a nurse, for emergency treatment. It was March 23, and the Chinese city was under a severe Covid lockdown.

However, when they arrived at the emergency room, Zhou’s family found that it was closed for disinfection under Shanghai’s rules to limit the spread of Covid. In urgent need of medical attention, they had no choice but to drive to another hospital about 9 miles away. Zhou later died.

Zhou’s death provoked outrage Chinese social media, but it was not an isolated incident. Shanghai’s city-wide blockade lasted for two months, with most restrictions lifted on June 1. But in those two months, almost nothing moved – including the city’s hospitals, which were hit by sudden closures, with many limiting their services to emergencies only. Patients in need of medical assistance were instructed to present a negative PCR test to access treatment.

From February to May, the health authorities in Shanghai had reported 588 died related to Covid-19, most elderly residents. But officials did not speak to people like Zhou who may have died as a result of the city’s shutdown restrictions.

Discussions about the parallel damage of China’s zero-Covid policy are severely limited in the country. Censors have blocked comments from people opposed to the pandemic strategy, including comments from the World Health Organization’s Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. But as always in China, censorship has not prevented people from finding technical solutions to express dissent.

April 14th a WeChat account called Shi You shared an article titled “Shanghai Deceased” which reported on people in the city who had apparently died as a result of harsh lockdown restrictions. The comment section of the article was quickly flooded with messages from people who said they had also heard of or knew someone who had died during the shutdown.

Capser Yu immediately realized that both the article and its comments were important. A native of Shanghai, now working in Singapore, Yu had heard stories of people back home who had lost loved ones during lockdown. One of the missing was Chen Xiangru, a 3-year-old girl who was reportedly unable to receive timely treatment when she developed a severe fever in late March. Chen died at the hospital while waiting for the result of a PCR test that doctors were to provide treatment.

Worried that censors would hide crucial evidence, Yu began taking screenshots of the WeChat article. A few hours later, WeChat scrubbed the article. When people in China tried to open the article again, there was only one message left that said it “violates the rules. “

Yu reposted the content on a blog he created, called Real China, to help keep his parents in Shanghai informed about how news in China was reported abroad. Within hours, Chinese censors blocked the resubmitted content. Yu says Article, which is still available outside China, was read by more than 20,000 people before it was censored. The link has since started working again for unknown reasons and by the end of June had become the most read post on Yu’s blog.

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