Monday, January 30

Strict handling of covid in Shanghai sparks massive protest on social media

  • The administrators of the social networks in China have blocked the videos of denunciation but the users have circumvented the censorship by uploading them again

The inhabitants of Shanghai, a strictly confined city since mid-March, protested massively on social networks this Saturday over the management of the omicron outbreak that already leaves 48 dead. As of Friday afternoon, videos related to the problems and disturbances recorded during the Shanghai confinement began to flood the social network and messaging application Wechat, the most important in the country. The Chinese authoritarians are trying to censor these messages.

voices of april

In particular, a video titled ‘Voices of April’ became one of the most popular. The video, in black and white, shows images of the confined city taken from a drone while, in the background, statements from local authorities and testimonies from its inhabitants can be heard. The piece begins with the voices of various local officials who denied in late March the possibility of a large-scale confinement, in part due to the important role that the city plays in the Chinese economy. After that, fragments of conversations and testimonies of city ​​residents detailing health care issuesin the supply of food to confined neighborhoods and in the conditions of isolation centers, where all positive patients are sent, with few exceptions.

circumventing censorship

As the video began to cover the walls of the users of wechat, the app started deleting them: the posts were still visible, but when trying to play the film, error messages such as “This content cannot currently be played” appeared. Numerous users re-uploaded the video, in some cases rotated 180º in the hope of circumventing the identification of the content. The censorship spread to other platforms such as the country’s blocked Chinese equivalent of Twitter, Weibo, where a search for “April Voices” yields no results and the #AprilVoices tag displays the following message: “According to laws and regulations, this item is not displayed”.

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more severe restrictions

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Last Friday, the authorities announced a tightening of prevention measures: the movements of health workers and delivery men between some urbanizations were limited to minimize infections between different communities, disinfection work was intensified and the placement of sensors and alarms on the doors of those infected who exceptionally receive permission to isolate themselves in their homes. Likewise, massive PCR tests will increase, one of the pillars of the Chinese anti-pandemic strategy together with the closure of borders, the limitation of movements and the isolation of all those infected, in certain urbanizations.

Authorities in the eastern city of Shanghai yesterday announced 12 new deaths from covid-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Shanghai has registered a total of 42,379 symptomatic cases of covid-19 and 55 deaths. The number of new infections in the city experienced a rebound this Friday after growing 32.6% compared to Thursday to 23,370, including symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.

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