Why even many wealthy people in China’s richest city can’t reliably get food — and what it says about the country’s political system.
In late March, Chinese authorities warned the residents of Shanghai that they would soon be trapped in their homes. They were given little time to prepare provisions for what they were told would be a few days trapped at home to combat the spread of Covid-19.
It’s three weeks later, and China’s largest city remains in lockdown. The government has failed to provide sufficient food, leading to starving people and the emergence of a barter economy among residents. Medical care for non-Covid ailments is difficult to access, leading to reports of people dying of injuries and easily preventable diseases. Shanghaiers are furious, clashing with police and venting rage out their windows to an empty city. Robots and drones patrol the streets and the skies, sending eerie messages instructing citizens to remain calm and “control your soul’s desire for freedom.”