May 24, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

Complete Canadian News World

China: Quebecs in “Zero Kovid” confusion

China: Quebecs in "Zero Kovid" confusion

Indefinite detention, fear of being sent to camp, ban on grocery shopping, daily screening tests: Cubans living in China tell of the state of mind of the state trying to contain zero cases of COVID-19 in the country.

Also read: Zero Kovid: How the Chinese are blocking web censorship

Also read: China: Xi closes Zero Kovid despite cost to economy

“The community we live in is completely closed. For 52 days, we never had a COVID case. We have no reason to hold ourselves captive, but we have no right to be free. […] There is no logic, it’s utterly chaotic, ”laments Alexandra Maynard, a 25 – year – old Quebeker who lived in Shanghai with her partner Simon Martin for three years.

Like all residents of the Chinese metropolis, the couple, from Granby in Estre, were detained for more than a month. Since the outbreak, Chinese President Xi Jinping has pursued a “Zero COVID” strategy.

As soon as a case is found, it is in complete control for the whole community. Positive cases are sent to camps, Ms. Maynard said, most of all, they are afraid to be sent there.

Chinese doctors and nurses also perform daily screening tests.

Courtesy film

Chinese doctors and nurses also perform daily screening tests.

For several weeks, the policy was imposed in Shanghai, a city of more than 25 million people. There, citizens live culturally in communities, i.e. clusters of several apartment buildings surrounded by fences and each with a security service.

Today, no one has the right to leave their community, not even the right to buy groceries, explains Simon Martin, 27.


So mainly the government sends food rations to the citizens, but it is very unequal depending on the neighborhood.

An example of a food ration sent by the Chinese government is that it contains only oil and milk with waffles.

Courtesy film

An example of a food ration sent by the Chinese government is that it contains only oil and milk with waffles.

“Some receive it almost every week, even 2-3 times a week, while others receive it only three times in six weeks. People are tired of hunger! Ms. Maynard said.

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She says the products delivered are also very variable. The basket sometimes contains only oil, waffles and milk. Sometimes they get meat or vegetables.

Vegetables distributed by the State.

Courtesy film

Vegetables distributed by the State.


Mr. The international primary school where Martin works as a physical education teacher provided them with food twice.

“Because it was a‘ private ’delivery, security was kept for 12 hours to separate the food, because [le gouvernement croit encore que] Residents argue that the virus can survive for up to six hours on the surface. They kept my delivery bag in the sun for at least six hours with meat and milk, ”he explains, as he struggled to get out of the snow to avoid losing supplies.

For a while, they were able to place large orders with their neighbors from grocery stores, but must be at least large in size to approve the delivery, referred to by two cubes.

Again, all products are disinfected individually to prevent the virus from being carried, but several studies show that the risk of catching it through the surface is very low.

Screening tests are conducted every two days at home for Shanghai residents.

Courtesy film

Screening tests are conducted every two days at home for Shanghai residents.

Horror stories

Since no one has the right to enter or leave communities, many humanitarian disasters occur.

“A woman in our community would call her mother every day to check on her. One day, she had no news and finally found out that her mother had died after falling, ”Mr. Martin left.

Due to severe detention, most people do not have access to their medications. Others who live alone are left completely alone without any support.

“Actually it leaves a section of the population,” said Simon Martin.

The latter and his companion were scheduled to return to Quebec in July. But with their training date unknown, detention, and the closure of posts and banks, they fear being trapped in China.

“Under these circumstances, it will only increase our desire to return,” he said.

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The actions frighten the diaspora

Strict measures taken to curb the virus in China and especially in Shanghai are forcing many expatriates to rethink their future and leave the country.

“If the situation does not improve, I will definitely leave China within two years before my agreement expires. Accordingly I have already begun to restructure my economy. What is happening now makes you think a lot, ”explained Ugo de Montigni, a 42-year-old Quebec teacher who lived for six years in Kushan, near Shanghai.

Ugo de Montigni, an exile in China

Courtesy film

Ugo de Montigni, an exile in China

According to a survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in China, nearly 80% of companies surveyed say the health policy prevents them from attracting or retaining their foreign employees.

Depart quickly

China has implemented a “Zero COVID” policy to curb the spread of the virus by detaining the entire population as soon as cases appear.

For more than 50 days, in Shanghai, nearly 25 million residents were detained at home without a chance to leave. Nearly 4,500 cases were reported in the city on Thursday. By mid-April there were more than 27,000.

For Mr. de Montigni, some expatriates are waiting for the easing of measures to leave.

“I have friends who want to leave as soon as possible [le pays] Because it will be very difficult and nothing can be done, ”he said.

Difficult for China

From an economic point of view, a researcher on Asia at the Center for International Studies and Research at the Adrian Savolle University in Montreal estimates that China risks paying too much for its atrocities.

“China needs foreigners, which could be a disaster for the Chinese standard of living. Before the detention, many expatriates were thinking of leaving, but there, it will be more pronounced,” he said.

There is no question of backtracking to manage the crisis

By promoting its “zero COVID” policy, the Chinese Communist Party will no longer withdraw and end its ineffective serious lockdowns months before the election, experts believe.

“The Chinese government says its model [de gestion de la crise] It’s more than the West, so accepting that we have to change is a weakness, “said Guy Saint-Jacques, a former Canadian ambassador to China.

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Since the beginning of the health crisis, President Xi Jinping has implemented the COVID’s zero cases policy. It imposes very strict sanctions with the closure of all businesses, as well as a massive screening of the population as soon as a positive case appears. If at the beginning of the epidemic it was effective with the more contagious Omicron variant, it would no longer be so.

As a result, millions of Chinese were detained for almost two months.

In China, the epidemic is linked to elections. In October, the Chinese head of state is expected to be re-elected to take the reins of the country for the third time. So, Mr Saint-Jacques believes that accepting today that this management is not right makes him fear defeat.

Do not switch

Adrian Savolle, a researcher on Asia at the Center for International Studies and Research at the University of Montreal, believes we will have to wait until after the election to see changes in crisis management.

“It simply came to our notice then that we were really looking forward to seeing Beijing. In the absence of even 50 cases, they closed about 14 metro stations, so things started to heat up, ”Mr Saol warned.

For Cubeser Ugo de Montigni, who has lived in Cunningham for six years, the intention to change the state is not clear.

“In fact, he continues to apply the 2020 policy, which makes no sense in 2022 since we learned about the virus,” the 42-year-old teacher said.


Images of the protest are circulating on social networks not only in the world but also in the country.

“It started to get popular reactions because these are really tough policies. […] Chinese censors, though very effective, are struggling to contain their anger, “said Guy Saint-Jacques.