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25 Apr 2022


China: Internet censors block video featuring Shanghai citizens' complaints about lockdown conditions on Weibo and WeChat

Chinese internet authorities are trying to block a popular video highlighting the impact of Shanghai's five-week lockdown on its residents.

The clip features audio of citizens complaining about their conditions, lack of food and poor medical care. Official attempts to remove it have triggered a backlash on Chinese sites. Shanghai's 25 million residents have been shut in their homes for weeks while officials try to contain a severe Covid-19 outbreak. The six-minute montage features audio clips of the local population criticising insufficient food supplies and complaining about poor medical conditions.

"We haven't eaten for days now," one person can be heard pleading. "This virus can't kill us. Starvation can," another man says.

The video, titled The Voice of April, was being widely shared on the popular Chinese platforms Weibo [owned by Sina] and WeChat [owned by Tencent].

But on Saturday internet authorities began trying to take it down, battling with rebellious users who were posting new copies elsewhere on the sites.[…] Some in locked-down areas of Shanghai have been struggling to access food supplies, and forced to wait for government drop-offs of vegetables, meat and eggs. […] The attempt to censor the short video has itself caused a debate on Chinese social media, triggering a backlash among commentators.