With Beijing’s zero Covid policy set to continue, many disillusioned citizens have begun planning to leave the country
When Wendy Luo*, a 29-year-old Chinese woman, handed over her passport to a border control officer in Shanghai airport last month, her heart began to beat fast. “I felt like my fate would be determined at that moment. Leave or stay, all at the officer’s mercy.”
After enduring months of lockdowns and weeks of food shortages, Luo had begun to look for an exit strategy from China. She was lucky, she said, because she quickly managed to find a job in Paris, having spent six years studying and working in France and being in possession of a resident visa.
“The border control officer in Shanghai asked many questions,” Luo said. “They included why I was leaving China, what did I do in Shanghai in the last couple of years, and what I was going to do in France. Most importantly, whether I plan to return to China any time soon. I pretended to be calm when giving my answers, but I was actually extremely nervous.”