China’s Mass Lockdowns Leave Locals Desperate for Medical Care

On a road damp with rain, in front of a neighborhood officials’ office in the Chinese metropolis of Shanghai, a kneeling woman’s heart-wrenching pleas for her dying husband tore through the frigid air.

“I beg you to please do some good deed,” the woman beseeched while crying. “I beg you to save my husband.”

Wearing a khaki jacket and black pants, she was in a kowtow position on the ground, heedless of the cold and wet. She repeatedly bent her head so low that it nearly touched the cement.

The woman’s husband was suffering from late-stage cancer. But no ambulance could be made available to take him to the hospital, nor would any medical facilities take him—for the sole reason that the couple live in a residential compound that has been sealed off under the Chinese regime’s “zero tolerance” virus policy.

Three months after a Chinese city became the center of an online storm for its draconian lockdowns that delayed much needed medical care for the sick and caused several pregnant women to lose their unborn children, similar scenes of helplessness are emerging on the Chinese internet as the country faces its purported worst COVID wave since its first emergence two years ago.

China is now reporting thousands of cases daily, an explosive growth compared to the clusters of infections in the double-digits it had recorded throughout 2021. But even this is likely to be an understatement, according to some experts and locals, given the communist regime’s practice of suppressing information that undermines its image. Infections are now recorded in every province, prompting a chain of responses from the Party bureaucracy as part of its “dynamic COVID-zero” policy: sacking local officials, mass testing, locking down cities, and quarantining anyone deemed a close COVID contact.

One factor that has consistently been overlooked in this playbook has been the human toll.

On March 11, the same day Changchun, the capital of northeast China’s Jilin Province, went into lockdown, a 4-year-old girl died of acute laryngitis while awaiting treatment that had been delayed due to the family of four being unable to present proof that all of them were virus-free.

On March 19, the city began a three-day testing drive of its 4.5 million residents that would also bar anyone, with the exception of medical workers, from leaving their respective compounds.

“The government seems to be treating this as a joke. They make announcements out of the blue without knowing what the next step will be,” Qin Jun, a local Changchun resident, told The Epoch Times.


In Nanshan district of southern China’s technology hub Shenzhen, a man in his 30s died following weeks of lockdown, according to his next-door neighbor. The timing and cause of his death were unknown. The residents only realized something was wrong after detecting a foul smell coming out of his apartment door.

“No one knows how he died, some said he had starved to death, some others said he took his own life,” Lin Nan (alias) told The Epoch Times.

She said that one man living in the same building had attempted suicide but was stopped by people nearby.

Residents’ frustrations toward local officials eventually triggered a showdown earlier this week, according to Lin.

One health worker had told the residents, while conducting virus testing one morning, that they deserve to be sealed inside and that they’d “better not get out for several months or even a year,” she said. In response, furious residents knocked over a checkpoint booth and metal fences that separated the compound from the outside world, and asked district officials to lift the lockdown.

At night, three police vans arrived to break up the mob, while the local Chinese Communist Party secretary threatened to have them all arrested they continued to “clamor,” Lin said.

The Epoch Times could not reach the district’s neighborhood office by phone on Thursday.

“I just want to ask when can the lockdown end?” said Lin.


Eva Fu is a New York-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on U.S.-China relations, religious freedom, and human rights. Contact Eva at

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