“Thousands of patients are put in commonly shared spaces with no heating or AC and no access to medicines,” Wei, a woman in another government quarantine center, told Quartz. “This place has a high risk of people getting even sicker as their conditions could quickly deteriorate.”

Wei and her boyfriend, who was sent to a separate site, experienced high fevers and coughs. She reports windows are sealed at her facility to prevent the virus from spreading, but depriving those who are inside from fresh air. “We are treated like prisoners,” she said.

Image for article titled People are “living like livestock” in Shanghai’s covid centers
Image: Leona
Image for article titled People are “living like livestock” in Shanghai’s covid centers
Image: Leona

It’s not just covid patients who are struggling. A few healthcare workers, who are dressed in heavy protective gear, have fainted, according to local news media (link in Chinese).

For young people, this is an unrecognizable China

The draconian measures in Shanghai and elsewhere have been compared by some to Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, but for young Shanghainese, who have only experienced a relatively open and prosperous China, they have come as a shock.

“In everyday life most Chinese have very little interaction with the state, now a lot of them have been forced to realize that it is anything but benevolent, especially the one in Beijing imposing its will on Shanghai,” one political pundit explained in his blog.

“Many of their acts and decisions come across as cruel, [callous], nonsensical and arbitrary. People under 40 have never before in their lifetimes experienced such an environment,” he wrote.

After her stay at the center, Wei is now planning to move overseas, and she expects others will do the same. 

“They don’t feel safe living in such an environment where the government dictates every move,” she said. “There are no rights whatsoever and you can lose your freedom at anytime…you are trapped in a system and you need to obey. This is not a safe place that you can call home.”

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