Connect with us

China and Covid19

What’s Happening in Dandong? Tragic Trending Stories from the Border City

Frustrations mount in Dandong: “All of these things happening are not being followed up on. It’s just settled it by leaving it unsettled.”

Manya Koetse

Published

on

The border city of Dandong has seen one of the strictest lockdowns in China. Despite eased restrictions, stories from distressed residents keep flooding social media.

The account of a young man from Dandong claiming to be an end-stage leukemia patient has attracted the attention of Chinese netizens this week. In a Tiktok video, the man stated his only wish is to be able to go home to die, but that he is being prevented from returning to his loved ones.

The man, who said he is dying soon, was on his way home to his parents after seeing a doctor in Beijing. Authorities and caregivers had allegedly been lying to him about taking him back to Liaoning province. Instead, they had been driving around Hebei province.

In various videos which have been circulating on Chinese social media since July 1st, the man can be seen struggling to breathe, blood stains showing through his face mask.

Because the videos are short and lack context, this unverified story has raised a lot of questions and concerns – especially because the original TikTok account no longer seems to be online. Hashtags used to discuss the story (such as #丹东白血病男孩#, #辽宁丹东一白血病男孩归家受阻#) were also taken offline on Monday, July 4th.

“Let him go home! He just want to die by his parents’ side!” some commenters said, with others writing: “Where is he now? Who is helping him?” “This feels like another world, not like China in the 21st century,” another Weibo user posted.

This online account of an allegedly terminally ill patient being unable to go back to Dandong, Liaoning province, strikes a chord with netizens at a time when people in the city have gone through a lot already.

Dandong, China’s biggest city bordering North Korea with a population of 2.3 million citizens, has seen one of the strictest lockdowns in the country.

Dandong has seen successive waves of Covid-19 since April of this year. Although there has been an easing of the strict rules on June 24 – those in risk-free regions can move around within the city as long as they have a negative test result within 48 hours -, residents are still facing many hurdles related to Covid restrictions in their everyday life.

Dandong sunset shared by Weibo user @洪水清波- on June 24.

In a recent report by state media outlet Global Times, the epidemic situation was still described as “grim and complex” since the city has not been able to identify the source of transmission of local Covid cases. Because the Covid outbreak in North Korea is seen as a possible source of infection, Dandong residents living near the border have previously even been advised to close their windows.

By June 14, when Dandong had been under lockdown for 50 days already, the city’s mayor Han Jianjun apologized for failures in the city’s response to the lockdown.

There have been various trending stories about residents clashing with community leadership and local authorities recently, and some reports about people allegedly committing suicide.

On June 21, a local woman and her father clashed with police after the daughter insisted on taking her dad to the hospital to pick up medicine and get a check-up despite her yellow health code (meaning movement is restricted due to possible heightened Covid infection risk). The incident went viral, made headlines, and the woman was later given ten days of administrative detention for refusing to cooperate and abide by the epidemic prevention regulations.

On July 2nd, netizens posted about an elderly lady jumping from the 13th floor of a building in the city’s Zhenxing district (振兴区).

A few days prior, on June 30, a 93-year-old resident living in the city’s Taonan community (桃南社区) was allegedly prevented from getting medicine at the hospital for his hernia pain because he did not have the right papers. The man, wanting to show community workers his condition, was accused of being indecent (‘a hooligan’), after which the old man was taken away by the police.

Feeling wronged and humiliated, the man hanged himself by the community gate the following day. That story also went trending on social media. Although some related hashtags were taken offline (#丹东桃南社区阻止93岁老人看病#, #丹东93岁老人受辱上吊#), the incident was later also reported by Chinese media and local authorities started an investigation into the case (#丹东回应93岁老人疑受辱后自杀#).

The community where the 93-year-old Dandong resident took his own life.

On July 3rd, a delivery driver who was unable to make enough money during the Covid outbreak allegedly also committed suicide by jumping from a bridge into the Ai River after he was no longer able to pay his rent.

There was also controversy over a box containing the Covid test samples of 186 residents of Dandong’s Taoyuan community (桃源社区) being left by the side of the road for an entire night and day on July 1st (#丹东186人核酸样本疑被搁置路边#).

Although not all of these stories come up in official media reports, and some are unverified at time of writing, they attract a lot of attention on Chinese social media, where Dandong recurringly is a hot – and censored – topic.

“Again, it’s [happening] in Dandong. Three months of stillstand, countless of contradictions are accumulating and it’s intensifying. You’re willing to give careful consideration to some people’s lives while blatantly disregarding the lives of others,” one commenter wrote.

“We are doing daily testing here in Dandong, and we do not know why (..), is it really necessary to do it every day? Why not just twice a week?”, one Weibo user from Dandong wrote on July 5th, with another person writing: “It will be the 8th day of continuous testing tomorrow.”

On Tuesday, the city reported one new (asymptomatic) Covid case. On Sunday, there were nine new Covid cases. The city reported the highest number of new local cases on April 25-26 of this year, when 102 new asymptomatic cases were reported within a day and 24 symptomatic cases.

“I want to ask God, will something good still happen in Dandong? Will I be able to return home in August? In October? Will I be able to go home to my family at all again this year?”, one Weibo user wrote.

The daily trending topics concerning Dandong recently are a sign of built-up frustrations. Many Dandong residents are expressing discontent, worry, and stress on Weibo about the strict Covid measures of the past few months.

On July 4th, a man in Dandong’s Maokuishan, Zhenxing District, could be seen frantically throwing objects from his 6th-floor window, damaging the cars parked underneath the building.

On July 3rd, the story one netizen shared about a family being forced to isolate, leaving behind their farm animals, also shocked social media users. In a home security video shared online, anti-epidemic workers can be seen dragging dead sheep away. Instead of feeding them, the sheep were apparently electrocuted and disposed of.

One thing that many people are venting about is the lack of official responses or follow-ups to the stories that have been circulating recently: “All of these things happening in Dandong are not being followed up on, [they] just settle it by leaving it unsettled, this is the way that the Dandong government and related departments are handling things,” one commenter wrote.

Looking at lockdown mismanagement, lack of access to medical care, and the heightening tensions between local community workers and residents, there seems to be some resemblance with the hopelessness and despair people expressed during the lockdown in Xi’an in early 2022 and the handling of the Covid outbreak in Shanghai in Spring.

After so many weeks of hardship, many people are longing for good news. “I just want life to return to normal,” some netizens write, with one person adding: “Just give us some hope.”

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

By Manya Koetse
With contributions by Miranda Barnes

For information and support on mental health and suicide, international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

 

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.

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.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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.

Avatar

Published

on

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

 

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.

Continue Reading

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

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Contribute

Got any tips? Or want to become a contributor or intern at What's on Weibo? Email us as at info@whatsonweibo.com.
Advertisement

Become a member

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.    

Support What’s on Weibo

What's on Weibo is 100% independent. Will you support us? Your support means we can remain independent and keep reporting on the latest China trends. Every contribution, however big or small, powers our website. Support us from as little as $1 here.

Popular Reads