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China and Covid19

The German Expat Phone Call That Went Viral in Shanghai [Full Transcript]

This Shanghai-based German national has had it with local anti-epidemic measures.

Manya Koetse

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On Tuesday, April 19, a recording of a phone call between a German national living in Shanghai and a translator working for the neighborhood committee was shared from WeChat group to WeChat group and went viral on Chinese social media, as well as being shared on Reddit and Twitter.

The 9-minute phone call is about the fact that the Shanghai-based German national in question supposedly tested positive for Covid-19. The man demands another test, saying he is definitely negative, and he also refuses to be taken off to a quarantine location.

In line with China’s dynamic zero-Covid policy, every resident who tests positive for Covid-19 is to be isolated at a centralized quarantine location. There have been many complaints about this mandatory quarantine rule over the past weeks.

One issue that many are concerned about is that the living conditions at some of Shanghai’s quarantine locations are sub-par at best, with people complaining about toilets not being cleaned, trash not being handled, medical staff not being present, and supplies being so scarce that some locations even saw fights breaking out over water and food.

Another issue is that the handling process of taking positive Covid-19 patients to such locations is so slow (with a lack of staff and patients-waiting-for-beds “人等床” instead of beds-waiting-for-patients “床等人” being contributing factors), that people are sometimes required to go to a quarantine location nine days or longer after they first tested positive. By that time, most of these people have recovered from Covid and actually test negative again. Not only does it not make sense for them to go to a quarantine location, they might also risk getting infected again, which would only lengthen their mandatory stay at such a location. On social media, frustrated residents have vented their anger about this issue.

Earlier this month, another phone call in which a Chinese mother also refused to comply with orders to go to a quarantine camp since they were testing negative for Covid again also went viral online. A Shanghai-based Italian national also shared his story of testing positive on March 26 – he was not picked up for quarantine until April 9th.

Phone Call Transcript

The most recent phone call between the Juweihui (居委会 neighborhood committee, hereafter abbreviated to JWH) the German national (‘Ralf’) is as follows. You can also listen to this recorded phone call in this video.

JWH: “Hello, are you Ralf? Yeah we are the juweihui. You know you are positive of Covid-19.”

Ralf: “I’m not positive. The CDC [Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention] called me two days ago to come and test me, and they never came to test me. I was positive about 12 days ago and there is no way I’m still positive. So I’m demanding a new test.”

JWH: “So you think you are negative?”

Ralf: “I know I am negative. There’s no thinking.”

JWH: “But now the policy says you have to go to the camp.”

Ralf: “There is no policy in place. The CDC called me two days ago that they would come and test me. They have no people to come and test me, so that’s not my problem if there’s no personnel. So get the CDC, get them the f*ck over here to take a test and then we can talk. I don’t care about your policy – I really don’t care – because your system is really f*cked up, it doesn’t work. I’ve been to the camp already and they didn’t want me. They sent me back home. It’s ridiculous. It’s a disgrace for you, for the government, for Shanghai, for China.”

JWH: [trying to get some words in between] “Yes.. I know..”

Ralf: “It’s a really big joke. So get the CDC, come here, take a test, I’ll be negative, and then we can talk.”

JWH: “Yeah I know, I – I know the problem is that kind of thing. But..”

Ralf: “But that’s not my problem! This is not our problem. That’s your problem, it’s your government, not mine. So solve it. Get somebody here, test me. I will make a huge scene at the center. Don’t worry, I’ll have all the media involved. Just get me a test over here. I don’t want your excuses I really don’t care. Get the CDC over here. Take a test. I’ll be negative. We’re all fine.”

JWH: “Listen to me. I’m not a person from the government. I’m just here to translate because you can’t speak Chinese. They want me to tell you that someone will take you to the camp tonight no matter what you say.”

Ralf: “If you’re a translator you’ll translate both sides, right? You’ll also translate back to them? Or you’re just translating Chinese to English? Can you also do English to Chinese?”

JWH: “Yeah. I will tell them what you say. But they just want me to tell you, you have to go to the camp.”

Ralf: “Can you tell them in Chinese I do not f*cking care? I want the CDC here to take a test. This government is really f*cked up, there is no organization. I have been to the center already. They sent me back. Me and my wife have been there. My wife is here, she’s negative, everyone here is negative. So if there’s no people testing me I really do not f*cking care.”

JWH: “Yeah I know but..”

Ralf: “Sent the police over here, sent them with a test over here. Please report to your boss to send the police over here with the test, take a test with me, and then we can test.” [Shouting in background]

JWH: “Oh..ok…I..”

Ralf: “I tested negative, first positive on f*cking April, the 3rd. April 3!”

JWH: “You haven’t..”

Ralf: “Listen to me! They left us here for twelve days, then they decided to take us. Then they sent us back home after leaving us there in the cold for five hours. This is f*cking ridiculous. This is insane. So, I’m sorry that you are in the middle, but this is ridiculous. Get your boss. Tell him I tell him he sucks. Tell him the system sucks. Tell him to send a CDC officer here and take a f*cking new test with me.. [shouting in background]..and then we can talk. The CDC called me two days ago. They said, stay home, take a test. They did not send any single person here.” [Woman’s voice in background: “We have a recording of this!”] “I have a recording of this.” [Woman’s voice in background: “We can prove everything!”] “Your system is the most ridiculous I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. My children in kindergarten are more organized than this f*cking crap here. And that’s what you can tell your boss, with nice greetings from me.”

JWH: “I – I know what you mean.”

Ralf: “You don’t know what I mean! I have pets in this f*cking place, I had to pay 6000 RMB [$935] to get my cat in rescue because your government is a piece of sh*t. You do not understand what’s going on. You have no clue. You have no clue. So get the CDC over here, take a test, and if that’s positive, I’m more than willing to go. But it’s not gonna be positive so get the f*cking CDC over here and then we can talk. But that’s how the thing must go. If not, tell your boss to bring the police. My embassy is all over you anyways already. So this is going to be massive. This is a f*cking big joke, and you know it. And you do not understand. I’m sorry you’re in the middle of this, that’s your job. So go back to your boss and translate what I just said. Tell him this policy stinks, tell him this policy does not work – it is complete chaos, it is like a f*cking kindergarten. You can tell him exactly that. Do we understand?”

JWH: “Yeah I will tell them what you said.”

Ralf: “Go get the CDC over here. The CDC called me two days ago and said that they would come and test me and they did not come. The same happened to a friend of mine in Jing’an, same procedure. It’s f*cking ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. It’s a digrace for this country and for your government. You’re like a joke in the whole f*cking world now. This country is a joke, it’s seriously a joke. And that’s what you can tell your boss. If they would have this organized – no problem. [But] they leave us here with 8 people, corona positive, for f*cking 15 days. We’re all fine, and then they decide to take us? What sort of ridiculous rule is that? That’s ridiculous. There’s no logic to this. It’s completely f*cking random. So you understand?”

JWH: “Yeah, I understand. Ok. I will call you later, maybe, ok? Thank you.”

Ralf: “Maybe you talk to your boss and then you call me back. So then I’m going to have to call my embassy again and then they will be on your ass again.”

JWH: “Ok.. I know what to say, and I will talk to them, ok?”

Ralf: “So call me back. Call the CDC. Because we cannot reach the CDC because it doesn’t work properly. They call us with random numbers. They call us at 2 AM in the morning. They call us at 3 AM in the morning. We cannot call back. This is a disgrace. A disgrace for China. So call the CDC and have them call me back and get them come over here and take a PCR test. If I’m positive, hey, you can take me, no problem. I’m fine. If it’s negative, I’m staying.”

JWH: “Yeah, I..I.. I know you are..”

Ralf: “You don’t know, don’t say you know. You have no f*cking idea. You have no f*cking idea what’s going on here. I understand you are translating, you’re in the middle of this, I’m sorry for you, but this system that you’re putting in place – the system that you are supporting – is a piece of sh*t. A piece of sh*t. It’s not working. It’s totally random. Makes no sense. People are afraid to get deported more than to get sick. This is a f*cking joke. And you do not understand. So don’t tell me you understand. Go to your boss, tell him what I said, get the CDC over here, and then call me back.”

JWH: “Ok. I will call..”

Ralf: “I will not go anywhere. I’m fine. I’m home. I cannot run away. So get the CDC over here. If they are not capable of sending a person to test, that’s not my f*cking problem. That’s your f*cking problem. That’s your boss’s f*cking problem. That’s the CDC’s f*cking problem. And a f*cking Party problem. But certainly not my problem. So take your problem somewhere else and don’t put them on me. Get the thing sorted out and then we can talk.”

JWH: “Ok”

Ralf: “And I will make the same..I would make the scene or whatever if they take me. I’m fine. I’m going to have a really nice time at the camp. It’s gonna be really ridiculous for you guys. Ah, I’m gonna love it. I’m already in touch with all the media in Germany. This is gonna be lovely, lovely.” [Woman’s voice in background: “Global glory for China!”] “Global glory. This is a disgrace for this country. Yes. Any third-world country would do this better than this. This is really, really, really shameful.”

JWH: “…”

Ralf: “So give me a call back and tell me when CDC is coming for a test.”

JWH: “Ok, I will. I will talk to them and tell you when they will come ok.”

Ralf: “When will who come?”

JWH: “The…doctor to test.”

Ralf: “Thank you. Yes.”

JWH: “Ok I will call them.”

Ralf: “Thank you. Bye bye.”

JWH: “Thank you. Bye bye.”

As the recording has gone viral online over the past 48 hours (the WeChat link was no longer online at the time of writing), there are many people who applaud the German for criticizing the system, but there are also some who think his attitude and way of speaking is not right.

One Weibo user named ‘Unidentified Susu’ (@未名苏苏) writes:

“Unexpectedly, many people say the recording of the German man cursing at the Chinese employee is so good, but I was really angry to hear it. A foreigner, on Chinese soil, should abide by Chinese laws and cooperate with China’s anti-epidemic policies. If there is inconvenience or misunderstanding because the communication is not right, there should be proper communication to solve the problem. A big German guy telling our female employees f*cking this and that, the wife shouting and screaming bad words in the background, and then so many Chinese happily sharing and liking this recording, saying it’s good that he scolded them, that’s really distressing and makes me angry. What era is this that this foreign man in China is being so arrogant and bossy to our workers, scolding our government, cursing at our employees – does he think we’re living a century ago? China does not welcome this kind of foreigners, you go back to where you came from, go back to your Germany where you can use Russian natural gas.”

But not everyone agrees. A top commenter replies: “Do you know the saying ‘support who is reasonable rather than who is closer to you’ (帮理不帮亲)? If it were you, and after more than ten days you’ve tested negative again and they want to come and take you and place you together in a makeshift hospital with people who are all positive, risking getting infected again, would you go? This is nothing personal. If he were Chinese, I would also support him, because he makes sense.”

“I would be cursing if I were him, too,” multiple people say.

But there are also other people criticizing the angry German, such as this Weibo user:

“I saw the recording of the angry German versus the neighborhood committee in my WeChat group today. I’d suggest the neighborhood committee to bring the Germans under control the German way: ‘do a PCR test? You need to book it. Send a letter or email in advance to book it, or if it’s urgent, you can come and stand in line at 5 AM to get your number. We will then send you a letter stating your date of when you can do the test.’ This is how foreigners are treated in Germany and the entire system has been a joke for ages. And if we speak English? Forget it. This is Germany, you need to speak German. German only. In the end, if you really can’t, you might as well break down the door and drag the person away.”

As for Ralf, another video posted to social media shows him drinking a glass of sparkling wine. “I’m back home,” he says, adding: “I will say this openly – f*ck this bullsh*t, and f*ck the Party, they are f*cking idiots. F*ck that sh*t. We’ve been out for six hours on a bus for no reason. We just rescued our cat and paid tons of money to get our cat rescued (..) Now they drove every foreigner back home. And we can restart the same story tomorrow again (..) Cheers, we’ll have a drink now, on the Communist Party, which we love.”

“The foreigners in Shanghai are going crazy,” one Weibo user commented on the phone call recording, with others saying: “I support this foreign guy.”

Because Ralf mentions the rescuing of his cat, it’s likely that the video was recorded before the juweihui phone call went viral. At time of writing, there has been no update on whether or not the CDC has actually come to test Ralf yet.

For more articles on the Covid-19 topics on Chinese social media, check here.

By Manya Koetse

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©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the founder and editor-in-chief of whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer, public speaker, and researcher (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends, digital developments, and new media in an ever-changing China, with a focus on Chinese society, pop culture, and gender issues. She shares her love for hotpot on hotpotambassador.com. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar

    R

    April 20, 2022 at 5:37 pm

    I loved hearing it! I would have kept my cool, but in the end I would have reacted in the same way!

    And f* those id**ts who think we can’t complain against senseless bs from the CCP just because we’re foreigners!

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China and Covid19

Anger over Guangzhou Anti-Epidemic Staff Picking Locks, Entering Homes

While these Guangzhou homeowners were quarantined at a hotel, anti-epidemic staff broke their door locks and entered their homes.

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WEIBO SHORT | Weibo Shorts are concise articles on topics that are trending. This article was first published

Dozens of homeowners in Guangzhou, Guangdong, were angered to find out the locks of their apartment doors were broken during their mandatory hotel quarantine.

The residents had gone to a quarantine location after a positive Covid case in their building. Afterward, anti-epidemic staff had entered their homes for disinfection and to check if any residents were still inside.

The incident happened earlier this month in an apartment complex in the Liwan district of the city.

The incident first gained attention on July 10 when various videos showing the broken door locks were posted online. During the morning, the property management had conducted an ’emergency inspection’ of 84 households. The doors were later sealed.

The case went trending again on July 18 when the residential district apologized to all homeowners for the break-ins and promised to compensate them.

“What’s the use of apologizing?” some Weibo commenters wondered. “Where is the law? If this even happens in Guangzhou now and people in Guangdong put up with this, what else will they dare to do in the future?”

On Chinese social media, most comments on the Guangzhou incident were about the break-ins allegedly being unlawful.

Media reporter and Toutiao author Kai Lei (@凯雷), who has over two million followers on Weibo, said the incident showed that those breaking in “had no regard for the law.”

To read more about Covid-19 in China, check our articles here.

By Manya Koetse
With contributions by Miranda Barnes

 

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China and Covid19

Beijing Communities Asking People to Wear Electronic Monitoring Wristband during Home Quarantine

“It’s almost like wearing electronic handcuffs. I don’t want to wear this,” one tech blogger wrote after being asked to wear a monitoring wristband during home quarantine.

Manya Koetse

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Social media posts from Beijing residents claiming that they were asked to wear electronic monitoring wristbands during home quarantine have prompted angry reactions on Weibo.

“Last week, I went on a work trip to Guangzhou and before I returned to Beijing I did the nucleic acid tests in time. I also reported my home isolation to authorities and received the antigen tests. In the middle of the night, I then received a notification from my community that they are giving me an electric bracelet to wear,” one Beijing resident writes on Weibo on July 14: “If they need to monitor my health, I’ll cooperate with temperature checks and nucleic acid tests at the door, but I cannot accept this so-called 24-hour electronic monitoring.”

Similar stories by Beijing residents returning back to the city after traveling have popped up on Chinese social media over the past few days. Tech blogger Dahongmao (@大红矛) – who has over 170,000 followers on Weibo – also shared their wristband experience, writing:

After returning to Beijing from a business trip, I reported to the community on my own initiative, and also volunteered to take the tests and stay in home isolation. Seeing that I could go out, a lady from the community called me and said that there was a new policy again and that all people in home quarantine must wear an electronic bracelet, and that it would be delivered to me that night. She explained that it is used to check the body temperature and that they could conveniently monitor body temperature data on the phone. I said that I had already strictly followed Beijing’s requirements in accordance with the anti-epidemic work. If this bracelet can connect to the internet, it definitely is also able to record my movements and it’s almost like wearing electronic handcuffs. I don’t want to wear this. If you want to know my temperature, just come to the door and check me, that’s fine, I’m also still clocking in to do antigen testing everyday. She said it’s a requirement from higher-up and that I shouldn’t make it difficult for her, I said I would not want to make it difficult for her but that she could tell those above her that I won’t wear it. If you insist that I wear it, you’ll have to come up with the documents that prove that it’s a Beijing government requirement and that this is not some unlicensed company trying to make a profit.

As more stories started surfacing about Beijing compounds asking residents to wear electronic bracelets during their home isolation, various hashtags related to the issue made their rounds on Chinese social media and photos taken by people wearing the bracelets also were posted online.

Photos of the wristband’s packaging show the electronic wristband is manufactured by Beijing Microsense Technology (北京微芯感知科技有限公司), a local Beijing company established in April of 2020 that is located in the city’s Haidian District.

These stories raised concerns online, especially because the wristband had not been announced as a policy by the city’s official health authorities.

“Resist the craziness,” one Weibo user wrote: “Our personal freedom is covertly being limited, and there’s people making a profit behind it.” “This is becoming more and more like one big prison,” one Zhejiang-based blogger wrote.

Tech blogger Dahongmao later updated their Weibo story about the bracelets, saying the community staff had come back to retrieve the electronic bracelets on Thursday afternoon because they had received “too many complaints.” News of the wristbands being recalled after too many complaints also became a hashtag on Weibo (#大量投诉质疑后社区回收电子手环#).

Chinese state media commentator Hu Xijin (@胡锡进), who is Beijing-based, also responded to the controversy, emphasizing that the bracelets had already been retrieved by community workers and that Beijing city would not force people to wear electronic wristbands during home quarantine. “I wonder if this adjustment was made due to the pressure of public opinion,” Hu wrote: “But even if it was, let us encourage this kind of respect shown in the face of public discontent and opposition.” He also made a video about the incident for his Hu Says series.

Earlier on Thursday, Hu had called some of the posts about the electronic wristbands “unfounded rumors” because people returning to Beijing from low-risk regions inside of China do not even need to isolate at home at all.

According to the official guidelines, individuals arriving (back) in Beijing must have a green health code and a negative nucleic acid test obtained within 48 hours. Only those individuals coming in from overseas must complete a 7-day centralized quarantine plus 3-day home isolation. Secondary contacts of confirmed cases will also be asked to do 7 days of home quarantine.

“Don’t say it’s just rumors,” one Weibo user wrote: “I’m wearing one [a wristband] right now. I had to, because my roommate returned from a trip.”

Blogger Dahongmao responded to Hu’s post about the wristband, saying: “Hu, if you are really concerned about this, then help to ask the relevant departments about these three questions. 1) Why doesn’t this consumer electronic product have the nationally required 3C certificate? 2) How come this anti-epidemic product doesn’t have medical device certification? 3) Without these two certificates, how did this [company] enter the purchasing list of the government for the Winter Olympics?”

As reported by Jiemian News, the same company that allegedly produced these wristbands also manufactured a smart wearable temperature measurement device called a “temperature band-aid,” which was used in the Olympic Village during the Beijing Winter Olympics.

On the late afternoon of July 14, the Beijing Municipal Health Commission responded to the online concerns about the electronic wristband, reportedly saying that home isolation is only necessary for people returning to Beijing from inside of China if they are coming from high-risk areas, and that there is no official policy in place regarding the need to wear electronic bracelets.

To read more about Covid-19 in China, check our articles here.

By Manya Koetse
With contributions by Miranda Barnes

 

Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What’s on Weibo here to receive our weekly newsletter and get access to our latest articles:

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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