Disturbing videos emerge as 13 million remain in China's lockdown

·News Editor
·4-min read

China is hellbent on achieving what no other country has: Covid-zero.

Desperate to stamp out the mutating coronavirus ahead of the Winter Olympics in Beijing next month, the Chinese government has kept more than 13 million people in the northwestern city of Xi'an under strict lockdown conditions.

Residents are confined to their home and are not permitted to leave to buy food or supplies, instead having to rely on patchy deliveries.

A video still on the left showing Xi'an residents apparently being removed from their homes at midnight to go into quarantine with an image of a health worker in PPE on the right.
Residents were reportedly removed from their homes at midnight and ushered into quarantine. Source: Weibo

Reports circulating on Chinese social media site Weibo claim as many as 1000 people were removed from their home at midnight and led away into quarantine.

Locals have taken to social media to complain about the drastic measures. While it is not known how many people were forced from their home, one account said they saw as many as 30 buses evicting the residents in the early hours of the morning.

Residents were removed from the Mingde 8 Yingli housing compound on January 1, the BBC reported, because it was believed locals had mixed while getting tested for Covid.

One person later complained about the quarantine conditions on Weibo.

"There is nothing here, just basic necessities... Nobody has come to check up on us, what kind of quarantine is this? They did a big transfer of us, more than a thousand people, in the night and many of us are elderly people and children," they wrote, according to the BBC.

Due to the harsh lockdown measures, "anti-epidemic" workers have been supplying food to residents.

Health workers in PPE suits arrive to conduct Covid test in residential Xi'an.
Staff members in protective suits conduct Covid tests at a residential area in Xi'an on January 2. Source: Getty Images

Video showing long lines of workers in hazmat suits delivering bundles of food have been going viral on Chinese social media.

But so too have more disturbing clips, Manya Koetse, a Chinese social media trend watcher and editor of What's on Weibo, says.

One viral video purports to show a Xi’an resident getting beaten up by two community guards upon returning to his compound after buying food.

"There was also this video of a resident being beaten by anti-epidemic workers after he allegedly left his community to get steamed buns because he was so hungry," Ms Koetse posted.

Police said the two workers who attacked the man were detained and fined.

Other videos show workers in hazmat suits walking the corridors of a residential building with one banging a small gong in an apparent effort to bring people out for testing.

While residents have been delivered bags of vegetables by the government, reports of food scarcity and shortages are widespread, including that some Xi'an locals have resorted to bartering.

Chinese state media has tried to refute the worst claims, also striking out at foreign media for labelling the current lockdown "harsh" and "severe".

"Supply chains have been kept efficient to ensure that essential items such as food and medicine are available to all, especially those in need," China Global Television Network's English-language outlet reported.

Free vegetables being delivered to a Xi'an resident's home during lockdown by a volunteer.
A volunteer delivers free vegetables, which are distributed by the government, to residents' homes in Xi'an. Source: Getty Images

"Ten medical teams and a 24-hour hotline provide treatment to those isolated. Donations of food and supplies are not just pouring in from neighbouring local governments but private citizens too."

However city officials have had to acknowledge the shortages of key supplies as it continues with its lockdown policy.

"We’re going to continue to strengthen the quality, price and supply of goods for people, and increase our caring and support for special groups,” top city official Lin Jianwen said.

In the latest reported data, the Chinese government said 122 new infections were found on Sunday, down from 174 on Saturday.

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