BEIJING (AP) – On Sunday night, residents of a high-profile Shanghai complex took to the streets to protest the locking restrictions imposed by their community. The next morning, they left free.
The success story spread in chat groups across the Chinese city this week, prompting a question in the minds of the locked-ups: shouldn’t we do the same?
Over the weekend, other groups of residents confronted management on their premises, and some won at least a partial release.
Although it is not clear how widespread they are, incidents Reflects the frustration that occurred after being locked up for more than seven weeksEven though the number of new daily cases in the city of 25 million people has dropped to a few hundred.
They are reminiscent of the power of China’s neighboring groups to rely on the ruling Communist Party to spread propaganda, execute its results and resolve personal disputes. Such groups and the subcommittees under them have become the target of complaints, especially as some in Shanghai and other cities have refused to let residents out even after official restrictions have been relaxed..
More than 21 million people in Shanghai are now in “precautionary zones.” In theory, they are free to go out. In practice, the decision is in the hands of their resident groups, resulting in a kaleidoscope of arbitrary rules.
Some are allowed to leave, but only for a few hours on one day of the week or on certain days with a specially issued pass. In some places only one person is allowed to leave a house. Others prevent people from leaving.
“We have already been given at least three different dates when we reopen, and none of them are real,” said Veronica Trussinska, a graduate student from Poland.
“The housing committee told us you can wait a week and we’re going to reopen on June 1st,” he said. “No one believes that.”
More than a dozen residents on his campus confronted their managers on Tuesday, two days after an explosion at the top Huxianzu campus on Sunday night, under an umbrella on a rainy day.
Residents, who were mostly Chinese, demanded to be allowed to leave without time limits or restrictions on how many people could enter the house. As the demands were not met, some went on strike for a second day. During this time, four police officers were watching.
On Thursday afternoon, community representatives knocked on each resident’s door with a new policy: write their name and apartment number on a list, check the temperature, and scan the barcode – they were free to leave.
“We only got the chance to go out because we were brave enough to protest,” Trussinska said of his fellow residents.
The Shanghai Lockdown provoked protests against people being taken into isolation and workers sleeping in their workplaces. Taiwan’s Quanta Computer Inc. The videos showed on social media that they were employees of a factory run by.
The party’s fierce anti – virus campaign is aided by the urban environment, with hundreds of millions of people in China living in flats or walled neighborhoods at the entrance.
The front line for enforcement is the neighborhood side committees responsible for monitoring every resident in every urban household across the country and enforcing public hygiene and sanitation regulations.
Many who know the example of public officials who have been fired or criticized for failing in their anti-epidemic duties, err on the side of over-enforcement.
The importance of neighborhood groups diminished as the Communist Party eased restrictions on the movement of citizens in the 1990s, but they are re-emerging under President Xi Jinping’s continued tightening of social controls.
The incident in Huixianju prompted others to speak out. In a series of videos circulating this week, about two dozen people marched towards the West Nanjing Road police station, chanting “Respect the law, give my life back”.
Residents of a compound in Jingan County have seen the doors of neighboring campuses open for the past month – yet they remain locked. On Wednesday, about two dozen people gathered at the gate and were invited to speak with a representative.
“I want to understand what the neighborhood side leaders are planning?” That girl asks in the video. Another woman asked, “Are you making progress?” A third resident points out that they should be free now because the compound has been without cases for some time. “Didn’t they say on TV that things open up? We saw it on TV,” says one adult.
The next day, the community issued one-day passes – residents were allowed out for two hours on Friday, with no word on what would happen next.
Shanghai authorities have announced a June goal to return to normal life. But some, without waiting, push the boundaries a little bit.
On Thursday night, more than a dozen young people gathered for a street concert in the same district where the protest took place on Sunday. The video of the last song “Tomorrow will be better” was widely shared on social media.
A police car was parked nearby with red and blue lights and headlights on. At the end of the final song, a masked officer approached the group and said, “Well you were having fun. It’s time to go back. The crowd dispersed.
Si Chen, an Associated Press researcher in Shanghai, and Joe McDonald, a writer in Beijing, contributed to the report.