Those restrictions were imposed against the backdrop of last week’s Communist Party congress that extended Xi Jinping’s leadership for a precedent-defying third term. Under Mr. Xi’s direction, China has stuck with a zero-tolerance approach to the pandemic — marked by mass testing, severe lockdowns, and quarantines — that has shut down entire cities because of a handful of cases. Some people have had trouble securing food, and some have been confined for weeks in poorly built isolation facilities.
Gao Mingjun, 24, a Zhengzhou resident, said her mother and aunt have been quarantined in their dormitories in the Foxconn Zhengzhou factory for weeks.
“I haven’t seen my Mom for more than a month,” she said, adding, “there are basically no advantages, but all are flaws,” with the pandemic restrictions.
Though financial markets have signaled unease with China’s economic slowdown, local governments have hewed closely to Mr. Xi’s playbook. At his opening address at the congress, Mr. Xi reiterated his commitment to China’s pandemic policy, describing the fight against Covid as an “all-out war.”
Several other cities have been battling outbreaks in recent weeks, including Wuhan, where the virus first appeared; Lanzhou, in Gansu province; and Xining in the northwestern province of Qinghai. The latest viral wave, which reached 993 cases on Thursday, followed earlier outbreaks at the start of October in western Xinjiang and southern Hainan, among other places, when daily cases reached 1,400.
The lockdown in Zhengzhou began early last week when people in more than a dozen neighborhoods in the central Zhongyuan district, west of the Foxconn factory, were told to stay at home, according to an official notice. By Tuesday, images and videos of an outbreak inside Foxconn erupted on social media, sparking outrage from Chinese internet users who accused the company of failing to be transparent and downplaying the situation. The hashtag #ZhengzhouFoxconn briefly trended on Weibo, a popular social media platform in China.
But some online commenters were relieved that the news had finally emerged. Posts revealed shortages of food and other necessities inside workers’ dormitories.