fredag 7. januar 2022

What Xi'an's chaotic lockdown reveals about China's uncompromising top-down bureaucracy

As harrowing stories continue to emerge from within the locked-down city of Xi'an, a wave of disbelief has washed over the Chinese public: why are such tragedies still unfolding two years into the pandemic, in a major metropolis of 13 million people? Xi'an was placed under strict lockdown orders on December 23 in a drastic bid to contain the spread of a fast-growing Covid cluster. But in the days and weeks since, a steady stream of complaints about food shortages, as well as heartbreaking scenes of critical patients -- including heavily pregnant women -- being denied medical care have shocked the nation.

Many were reminded of the traumatic early days of the pandemic in Wuhan, the original epicenter where 11 million residents were confined to their homes for months in 2020. Back then, Wuhan was blighted by extreme shortages in medical resources and soaring food prices, but the chaos and frustration eventually ended -- and the outbreak brought under control.