Ghulja in #China's #Xinjiang has been under serious lockdown for over 40 days. Local residents flooded Chinese social media with harrowing details of their situation while four people have been arrested for allegedly spreading rumors online. My latest:…
According to videos on social media, local residents in Ghulja have been strictly forbidden from leaving their houses and some videos have shown residents on higher floors having to use ropes to get supplies or food from the first floor.
Many local residents have rushed to Chinese social media platform Weibo to share their desperate situation. One resident wrote that she and her 2-year-old daughter have tested positive and her daughter is having a fever. However, following repeated calls to authorities, ...
... they still haven't been sent to local hospitals. Another netizen wrote that there were news of elderly in their 80s living alone at home and being unable to feed themselves or children aged 4 or 5 experiencing serious fever without any adults looking after them.
In some videos shared by @AbduwelA, an Uyghur woman was seen crying and saying that some of her family members are in quarantine and she has no news of their situation. Meanwhile, her son has been suffering from nose bleeding for three days and she has heart conditions.
Another Uyghur, who asks to be identified as "Yasinuf," said he and his wife got in touch with their parents who are currently in #Ghulja two days ago. His mother-in-law felt a bit unwell and some neighbors who learned about the situation, called the police, claiming someone ...
... in his mother-in-law's household was "coughing" and many people immediately arrived at her house and took her away to a quarantine center. She said there wasn't enough food and the situation in the city is the same as how social media videos have depicted.
Ayup told me that he hasn't been able to eat for the last few days and his wife hasn't been able to fall asleep after seeing videos coming out of Ghulja. "The situation is devastating over there," he told me.
Local authorities in Ghulja admitted last Friday that the news of residents having difficulty accessing healthcare facilities is true, and they promised to improve the situation and ensure people's rights to get medical care during lockdown.
However, local authorities have also arrested four local residents for "spreading rumors online." They received 5 to 10 days of administrative detention as their punishment.
As #China continues to impose the hardline zero Covid19 policy across the country, @Yaqiu said the reason why #Beijing is reluctant to move away from the policy is that the policy has become a "political and ideological issue" that's hard to pivot away from.
"When the pandemic was well under control in #China and the US was struggling with high death numbers, #Beijing promoted the idea that their governance system was better domestically. This has elevated the pandemic prevention policy to a political issue," she said.
"If the Chinese government repudiates its previous policies, it is repudiating Xi Jinping. Moreover, if a democratic country's government does a poor job of controlling the pandemic, it will certainly be criticized by the people," she added.
"But in China, because there is no check and balances, local leaders normally disregard the voice of normal people. They only view fulfilling the central government's requests as important while thinking normal people's feedback has no impact on advancing their careers."
@tengbiao said China's approach to tackling the pandemic is "completely incomprehensible." "At the beginning of the pandemic, the Chinese government claimed to be a global leader in pandemic prevention measures, but the cost of such prevention has been enormous.
The enormous cost includes the harm and inconvenience to people's basic rights and livelihoods, as well as economic damages."
According to him, there would be a lot of pressure and resistance if the Chinese government tries to give up the zero-Covid strategy, as it's not easy for #Beijing to give up the image of its "successful pandemic prevention measures," it also wants to use the opportunity to ...
... strengthen its control over civil society. "Chinese authorities use health code and other measures to control every place, every family and every person," Teng told me.
Combined with China's big data and facial recognition technology, the pandemic prevention measures allow the Chinese government to achieve its goal of tight and comprehensive control of society," he added.
Yaqiu and Teng Biao both agree that even though the repeated lockdowns across #China are making more people want to leave the country, those who have the ability to leave are still minorities.
"Many people are suffering from China's pandemic prevention policies and have decided to leave China to live in other countries, but of course, many people who want to leave China will not be able to do so for other reasons," said Teng Biao.
"However, the pandemic will make those who are hesitant to do so become more determined to leave," he added.
However, since #China has been promoting the narrative that other countries' pandemic control measures are ineffective domestically, @Yaqiu thinks some people in #China will still believe in the government's preferred narrative and think it is necessary for #Beijing to ...
... impose zero-Covid strategy. "Many Chinese people may think that even though life in China is painful, at least they still haven't gotten Covid and they are safe. For normal Chinese people, unless something extreme happens to them, ...
... they will still accept the current situation in #China under the conditions that they don't know what is the real situation in other countries," she told me.

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More from @WilliamYang120

Sep 12
A highly anticipated meeting between the presidents of #China and Russia in Uzbekistan comes as Beijing and Moscow want to increase their own ties with Central Asia while presenting a common front against the West. My latest:…
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According to @CDT, local authorities in #Xinjiang's Yili issued a directive, encouraging internet commentary personnel to "open a campaign of comment flooding" the topic of local residents calling for help amid serious deprivation of food and…
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From @guardian: "Imperial College will shut down two major research centres sponsored by Chinese aerospace and defence companies amid a crackdown on academic collaborations with #China."…
"The Avic Centre for Structural Design and Manufacturing is a long-running partnership with China’s leading civilian and military aviation supplier, which has provided more than £6m to research cutting-edge aerospace materials."
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Desperation grows in #China's Chengdu: "While city-wide Covid testing continues, Chengdu residents in high-risk areas are confined to their homes; others must limit their movement. People who test positive must undergo quarantine."…
"Huang, a 42-year-old university lecturer, was among those who got wind of the imminent lockdown on the internet. While she was buying meat and vegetables, someone shouted: “Someone identified as a close contact is here. This place will be locked down!”"
“At that moment, all I could think of was to run,” said Huang, counting herself lucky for evading compulsory quarantine. “I don’t know what happened to those who didn’t manage to get out.”
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