Nfter the reports of protests by residents against the official lockdown of the economic metropolis that has been in force since Monday, the government is drawing civilians into the so-called “people’s militia” in four out of 16 districts, according to information from the FAZ. This is part of the Chinese armed forces and is under the command of the Central Military Commission, which is headed by President Xi Jinping personally.
In letters available to the FAZ, bankers, lawyers and residents with other professions are asked to come by noon due to the “emergency situation” in order to “support the Covid control measures”. The employer should be informed and must follow the orders of the government and army leadership and release the conscripts.
Many Chinese are only familiar with the people’s militia, which is supposed to help maintain public order, from stories from the time of the Cultural Revolution. However, after the virus broke out in Wuhan towards the end of 2019, during the month-long lockdown in Hubei province, civilians were called into the people’s militia and had measured fevers on arterial roads, among other things.
In the past few days, videos of numerous protests by residents in Shanghai have been circulating on the Chinese Internet, chanting the lack of transparency of government measures. After the omicron variant of the virus apparently spread much faster in Shanghai than the authorities thought, Shanghai’s government reversed its “dynamic zero-Covid policy” on Sunday and officially closed the city of 26 million overnight locked down. In the eastern half of Pudong, this has been in effect since Monday, in the western half of Puxi it should begin on Friday and last four days.
After the number of cases of infection continued to rise sharply on Tuesday and Wednesday, the government has already upset this schedule again and brought the lockdown two days earlier in many parts of western Puxis Stadt. On Wednesday, the city reported 325 infections with actual symptoms and 5,656 asymptomatic cases. The day before there had been around 200 fewer symptomatic and over 1,000 asymptomatic cases.
Even before the official lockdown on Monday, most residents of Shanghai had been placed under house arrest by their “neighborhood committees”, a Communist Party organization, for days, sometimes for several weeks, and had been repeatedly tested for Covid. In its “zero Covid policy”, China’s government has been trying to track every single case of infection since the beginning of the pandemic. Those who test positive often have to stay in the hospital for several weeks.
Due to the sharp rise in the number of cases in Shanghai, the hospitals are completely overwhelmed. The government has set up emergency camps in gymnasiums and the World Expo Center, which patients have reported have poor hygiene and high contagion rates due to the beds being crowded together. Meanwhile, doctors are saying that the clinic management assumes that the restrictions in the city will not be lifted before mid-May in order to finally break the omicron wave.
Economists are also expecting a much longer lockdown than officially announced by the Shanghai government. The restrictions on people and the economy would probably last until at least early May, Zhaopeng Xing from Bank ANZ told the Wall Street Journal. Because the city is home to China’s financial center and many regional headquarters of Chinese and international companies, a complete lockdown of Shanghai will reduce China’s gross domestic product by 4 percent, scientists calculated in a study published two weeks ago.
#FAZ #exclusive #protests #Shanghai #recruits #civilians #peoples #militia