NPR has a sobering essay about living in Wuhan, China, which is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. Wuhan has been under a government-ordered lockdown since January 22nd. And according to the author of the essay, who wished to remain anonymous to avoid punishment for criticizing the Chinese government, the lockdown has made life in Wuhan “a living hell.”
Part of the essay details the struggles the people of Wuhan faced in immediate aftermath of the announcement of the lockdown. The author described how people rushed to 24-hour convenience stores within an hour of the lockdown’s announcement to get food. A day later, the author said they celebrated Chinese New Year’s Eve with a meal “pieced together from the few ingredients I’d been able to buy in that last-minute shopping trip.”
The essay is also deeply personal. The author discusses, for example, how they have worked hard and remained silent about politics in an effort to lead a secure life, but have become disillusioned with the Chinese government after it was slow to inform the public about coronavirus. “If we had human rights, democracy and freedom, we would have learned about what happened in Wuhan one month earlier,” the author says.
“What has happened in Wuhan is as if your house caught on fire and all your neighbors knew but forbade you from jumping out of the window. Only until the fire is out of control, and the entire town ablaze, do they slowly begin taking responsibility while highlighting their own heroic efforts,” says the author in another particularly gut-wrenching passage.
The whole essay is very illuminating, and I highly recommend spending a few minutes to go read it.