The online protests against the dystopian lockdown in Shanghai

The online protests against the dystopian lockdown in Shanghai

Taipei - Videos, posters, flyers. And above all protests. The lowest common denominator is always the same: anger and disillusionment with the work of the government. Not just the local one. The Shanghai lockdown is causing a rift between the Communist Party and citizens, at least those of the metropolis that symbolizes China's opening up to the world. To know how deep we will have to wait, but in the meantime we need to register an online activism perhaps unprecedented in recent times. After the sprawling diffusion of the video Voices from April, a sort of collective memory of the weeks that are putting a strain on Shanghai, other more concrete forms of protest against the zero Covid strategy are coming which use the network to overflow from the digital world to that real.

Content This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

On Thursday 28 April, for example, a poster inviting residents was circulated on WeChat (and not only) from Shanghai to play the pots from their balconies between 19 and 19.30 in protest for the lack of food and to ask the government for help. Videos were then circulated showing how there was adherence to the unprecedented form of protest (as shown in the video in the tweet below).

Twitter content This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

A challenge to the local authorities who for weeks have been sending drones between skyscrapers to remind them not to sing outside the windows and stay indoors. The distribution of government aid was not uniform in Shanghai. Some districts, according to the residents' accounts, have received more aid than others which are in great difficulty. The protest did not occur only in Shanghai, but also in other cities there have been cases of accession. But the posters and flyers circulated on Chinese social networks are many and as often happens, netizens indulge themselves with the imagination to try to avoid censorship. For example, presenting itself as promotional or celebratory material for anniversaries or other events.

There is no shortage of replies from keyboard nationalists, who argue that the protests would be heterodirected by "foreign forces" who encourage Chinese citizens to create unrest . Elsewhere, including Beijing, there are those who describe the inhabitants of Shanghai as "troublemakers".

The dystopian lockdown in Shanghai worries China and the world Drones and robot dogs are deployed by the authorities to monitor citizens and invite them to respect the rules. And the deliveries of food and basic necessities by the digital giants are not enough to solve a situation that involves social and political risks Videos, posters, pots and barriers torn up It's not over. Other videos show some barriers uprooted. Built in recent days to prevent citizens from leaving their homes, these barriers are a clear target of the anger of those who consider the restrictions unjustified. Many complain that the zero Covid strategy mantra has become a personal battle for President Xi Jinping, who can no longer take back his word on the line imprinted on the pandemic response despite the economic and social consequences. With the XX Party Congress at the gates, Xi wants to declare yet another victory in the war against the coronavirus "demon". It is a key component of his rhetoric to launch the probable (and historic) third term.

As in previous cases, the central government is trying to channel discontent towards local officials. The expense could be Li Qiang, party secretary in Shanghai and a close ally of Xi himself. But what is happening in Shanghai may have a different effect. It certainly is having it on the many foreigners who consider leaving China once the restrictions are finally lifted. Many international companies are considering relocating elsewhere in Asia. A report by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in China provides some interesting data on the impact that the restrictions are having on Italian companies operating in the country. 77% of Italian companies located in Eastern China said they were subjected to a lockdown regime. 16% of Italian companies plan to move their activities outside the People's Republic if the current restrictions persist into the next year.

Zero Covid-19, the goal that China is willing to achieve at all costs Beijing's anti-pandemic strategy is intertwined with President Xi Jinping's ambitions and his declaration of war on the coronavirus . This is why it cannot be abandoned and why the propaganda supports it Shanghai pushes Taiwan to change course on Covid But at the root of the anger of many Shanghai citizens there is not only the harshness of the restrictions. But also and above all the inefficiency demonstrated in various cases by the authorities. The videos in which the volunteers seem abandoned to themselves show that a system that until recently was perceived as hard, but at the same time efficient, hides dangerous cracks. Cracks that have allowed Taiwan, on the other side of the Strait, to change course in its pandemic response. From Wednesday 27 April, the now famous QR code that all Taiwanese had to scan for two years, entering any shop, restaurant, office, means of transport or public building, retired. Earlier, the government had decided to relax the rules and not raise the alert level despite the sharp increase in infections. For the first time in recent days, ten thousand cases a day have been exceeded, but the Tsai administration is pulling straight ahead.

And it does so for several reasons. The first is health care, given that with the omicron variant only a minimal part of the infected has significant symptoms. The second is economic, given that an impact on various sectors is expected from the Shanghai lockdown (China remains by far Taipei's largest trading partner). To limit its effects, Taiwan is also moving in the direction indicated by the many foreign companies calling for a relaxation of border restrictions. The quarantine has already been shortened and could be done away with altogether in the coming months. But behind this new orientation there is also a political reasoning. The inefficiency of Shanghai's restrictions has allowed Taipei to show itself as an opposing and more open example than Beijing's harshness. All without significant repercussions on public opinion which has always been substantially in favor of restrictions.

Powered by Blogger.