Wuhan residents endured a harrowing lockdown that dragged on for 76 days. As the virus spread to other cities, hundreds of millions of Chinese dutifully downloaded color-coded health apps to their mobile phones that allowed local authorities to trace their contacts and restrict their movements.
There was little public outcry last August when Beijing partly shuttered a huge shipping terminal in Ningbo, the world's third-busiest port, because of a single case of COVID—nor in October when authorities locked the gates of Shanghai Disneyland and administered PCR tests to 33,000 people after just one woman tested positive for the coronavirus. It took nearly all night to test every park visitor, but as one told the Associated Press: "No one complained, and everyone behaved really well."
But public support for the government's “COVID-zero” approach has given way to shock and outrage this month amid China's latest lockdown in the northwest city of Xi’an.