Chilling videos that went viral over the weekend appear to show starving residents of Shanghai, China screaming out of their windows and jumping to their deaths as the city of 26 million people enters its third week of strict COVID-19 lockdown. The authoritarian order bars people from leaving their apartments for any reason, leaving many to go without food and other basic living necessities for possibly weeks.
“What the?? This video taken yesterday in Shanghai, China, by the father of a close friend of mine. She verified its authenticity: People screaming out of their windows after a week of total lockdown, no leaving your apartment for any reason,” tweeted author and radio host Patrick Madrid.
Another video reportedly shows residents of the locked-down city committing suicide by jumping out of their high-rise apartments.
“At noon today, in Mocuili, Yangpu District, Shanghai, someone committed suicide by jumping from the 29th floor,” a user posted on Twitter last week, according to a Google Translation of the tweet.
According to The Associated Press, the city of 26 million reported just over 1,000 infections of COVID-19 and almost 24,000 asymptomatic cases over the last day. Authorities said the severe restrictions will only be lifted when there have been no new cases within two weeks.
Healthcare workers from around China have been conducting mass testing of the city for weeks, and the Chinese government also deployed 2,000 troops to assist with the effort.
Another post on Twitter reportedly shows that one resident of Shanghai engaged in a “silent protest” of the lockdown by dragging his fridge onto his balcony to show officials that it was empty.
On Friday, the U.S. State Department advised against travel to China due to the Chinese Communist Party’s “arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related restrictions” that includes “the risk of parents and children being separated.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said called the State Department’s notice a “groundless accusation against China’s epidemic response,” adding that China was “strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to” the United States’ advisory.
“It should be pointed out that China’s anti-epidemic policies are science-based and effective, and we are fully confident that Shanghai and other places in China will prevail over the new wave of the epidemic,” Zhao said.
Residents of Shanghai have decried the lockdown and food shortages for weeks, leading many to fight over limited supplies.
“Local residents in Shanghai seen fighting over groceries as half of its 26 million residents are in lockdown, and other half entering lockdown soon. The narrator cusses & complains there’s nothing even left to fight over (locals are notoriously cutthroat),” epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding tweeted during the lockdown’s first week.
The Chinese government admitted that supply distribution to residents of the massive city has been “difficult.”
“It is true there are some difficulties in ensuring the supply of daily necessities,” said Liu Min, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, the New York Post reported.
Last week, video showed Chinese authorities deployed a drone apparently equipped with a loudspeaker in Shanghai to warn residents that they must “control [their] soul’s desire for freedom” after they took to their balconies to sing in protest of the lockdown.