Covid lockdown
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China’s Omicron Outbreak Spreads and Other Trending News

Evicted residents clash with police, 373 million under lockdown, astronauts return to Earth, Cui Jian plays at record-breaking online concert—it’s Viral Week
Viral Week is our weekly round-up of the weekend’s trending memes, humor, rumor, gossip, and everything else Chinese netizens are talking about.

Around 373 million under lockdown

China continues to battle its worst Covid-19 outbreak to date, with over 373 million people across 45 cities now under some form of lockdown, South China Morning Post reported. Shanghai, the center of the current spike, is entering its third week of strict lockdown. Xi’an, a city of over 8 million previously under lockdown from December 22 to January 16, entered another partial lockdown on April 16.

Shanghai residents protest after homes seized

Last Thursday, police clashed with residents who were evicted from their community in Shanghai so that authorities could turn their homes into quarantine facilities for Covid-19 patients. Video footage shows figures in white hazmat suits holding riot shields labelled “police” scuffling with a line of residents, some of whom had apparently been on their knees, begging the authorities not to remove them. On April 12, local authorities had advised the community’s developers, Zhangjiang Group, that they would be converting nine of the Naxi International Community’s buildings into quarantine and isolation centers. They had already converted five vacant buildings. In a statement, the developer acknowledged that tenants had disrupted construction of the compound’s isolation fence, and said they had offered compensation to the 39 relocated rental tenants and moved them to rooms in other parts of the compound.

Shenzhou-13 astronauts return to Earth

On April 15, three Chinese astronauts returned to Earth after a national record 182 days in space aboard the Tiangong space station. Wang Yaping, Zhai Zhigang, and Ye Guangfu safely landed their Shenzhou-13 spacecraft about 80 kilometers from Inner Mongolia’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

Rockstar Cui Jian plays at record-breaking concert

Around 45 million people tuned into Cui Jian’s livestream concert on April 15, a record turnout for any male artist on the Chinese mainland. This was the first online concert held by Cui, who is known as China’s “Godfather of Rock” and influenced much of the youth movement of the late 1980s.

Shanghai man trades playtime with cat for oranges

A man in Shanghai rented his orange cat out for half an hour, in exchange for three oranges. It comes at a time of increasing food shortages in the city. The man offered his neighbor 30 minutes of play time with the cat in exchange for three oranges from a crate she had listed as a barter item on a public WeChat group.

Man reported to commit suicide after being refused hospital treatment

Chen Shunping, a 71-year-old musician from Shanghai, died last week, apparently afer two hospitals refused to treat him. According to a Weibo post from an account purporting to be Chen’s son, after Chen suffered sudden abdominal pain Tongji Hospital refused to treat him because they were full-up with Covid-19 patients, while the Tenth People’s Hospital said they were closed. The son claimed Chen committed suicide by jumping off his residential building, and suspected he had acute pancreatitis at the time.

Director of the Health Commission in Hongkou county, Shanghai, dies

Qian Wenxiong, Director of the Health Commission in Hongkou county, Shanghai, died last week, with his employers paying tribute to him and mourning his “tragic death” in an official notice. But various social media posts suggesting Qian had committed suicide due to the pressure of the city’s Covid-19 outbreak went unanswered in official media. Official media did, however, refute a rumor circulating that Qian’s wife had committed suicide, saying she was still alive.

Court rejects woman’s divorce application because husband “can change”

A court in Kangle county, Gansu province, rejected a woman’s application for divorce despite her husband’s poor behavior. The husband, surnamed Zhang, had apparently failed to care for their children, had also refused to pick up the woman, surnamed Ma, from their local bus station in 2020 (the man claimed he was afraid of Covid-19 spread at the time), and had flirted with other women. The court ruling stated Zhang admitted his poor behavior toward Ma and agreed to change it, so the two parties could work out their difficulties together.


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