Jie Zhang, Independent Scholar
The Covid-19 pandemic was a sudden and unexpected disaster for Wuhan. It is difficult to relate the lethal virus to Wuhan where we expect to see the white clouds, the yellow crane, the clear Long River, the tortoise and the snake harboring the river and the three towns standing tall. But Covid- 19 broke out from Wuhan and spread rapidly worldwide infecting millions of people and 4 million deaths worldwide.
If the Chinese government had not blocked Dr. Li Wenliang's whistleblowing and deliberately covered up information about the pandemic, the pandemic would not have been so tragic. Unfortunately, “The totalitarian system was a fertile ground for the growth of the evil seeds of the new virus.”
Why is the Chinese government hiding the pandemic? Perhaps it is because of the totalitarian system, or perhaps there is a deeper concern. The experience of human history tells us that all dictatorships face disasters in the same way, and they always do their best to cover up the facts. The lives of the people are always the lowest priority in the eyes of dictators whose primary concern has been the safety and security of the regime.
Dictatorship and absurdity always come hand in hand. In early 2020, when the virus was spreading rapidly in Wuhan, the spring festival party in Beijing was rocking and rolling high. However, the People's Congress and the Political Consultative Conference in Hubei were as calm as still water. The Baibuting Community Banquet in Jiang'an District served as many as 13,986 dishes for 40,000 families to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
It's a pity that the virus does not care about the big picture of the "leadership of the Communist Party." It comes and goes like clouds in the wind. Thousands of people in Wuhan wailed in fear, the medical system collapsed instantly, and the city was filled with the smell of death. Finally, the terrified "People's Leader" and "Great Helmsman" were so desperate that they forced the Wuhan Government to seal off the city.
The largest and most draconian city lockdown in human history took place. No legal process, no resettlement plan, no restraint of power and a rampant virus, they all mingled together playing a mad sonata in Wuhan.
A city of 10 million people suddenly fell into hell. A woman sat on the balcony and cried for a hospital bed for her mother. A girl screamed "Mom!" after the ambulance took her mother at night. A 70-year-old uremia patient jumped from a tall building. A family of four died one after another in their apartment. The people still remember the tragic scene of Chang Kai of Wuhan.
"I have been begging and crying in all the hospitals, but it is difficult to find a bed."- Chang Kai.
Wuhan became an isolated island. Every building was a prison. The internet was the only communication channel for the people of Wuhan. At this time, "Wuhan Diary" brought them comfort in the cold winter, which Fang Fang wrote.
After the closure of Wuhan, thousands of Wuhan people read Fang Fang's diary before they went to bed at night and the first thing they did when they woke up in the morning to learn from her about the changes of the Pandemic and to share the hardship and desolation of Wuhan people. Fang Fang's diary was like a ray of light in the darkest times, showing people the fragility of life, individuals' insignificance, and even their helplessness, incompetence, powerlessness, and hopelessness. It was about the cries and struggles of all the people in Wuhan after there was a lockdown.
Fang Fang wrote that many of the deceased were infected by the virus without having the opportunity to be hospitalized or receive adequate treatment. Some even passed away in a hurry without even having a confirmed diagnosis. Thus, the eight Chinese words "People do not spread the virus, the pandemic is controllable and preventable" have turned into a city of blood and tears and infinite sorrow. A grain of dust in one era would be a mountain when falling on the head of an individual. And we are in a dusty era.
At the same time, another "Wuhan Lockdown" was circulating overseas with 38 articles from February 15 to March 23, written by Hulu in the Wind. In addition, "Wuhan Lockdown" is available on the U.S. and Chinese websites, "Boxun News" and "Beijing Spring."
Hulu in the Wind is a poet, writer, and calligrapher from Wuhan. He is not a fan of fame and fortune. Instead, he reads for the sake of reading, writes for the sake of writing, and does calligraphy for the sake of calligraphy.
Hulu in the Wind's diary of "Wuhan Lockdown" opens a window into the actual situation in Wuhan for overseas Chinese. Hulu in the Wind was on the front lines of the Pandemic himself, traveling through the streets of Wuhan as a community service worker and documenting his experiences.
In his diary, Hulu in the Wind describes both the anxiety and helplessness of ordinary people in society. It is also a record of the confusion and mismanagement of government. The community, which is supposed to be the grassroots self-governing organization in China, had reluctantly assumed the primary responsibility for social assistance during the Pandemic. China's state-wide system of fighting the Pandemic was supported by community service center workers who had no power and no money. Behind the so-called "efficient" state-wide system were the people's heartache, blood and tears, and the secondary disasters after the Pandemic.
Hulu in the Wind's parents had been infected with the Covid-19 virus early in the outbreak, but they recovered due to being unaware of their infections. During the Pandemic, Hulu in the Wind spent his days selling food, delivering medicine, and helping people get medical care in the community service center. These are the small things that matter to the lives of ordinary people during a pandemic. As an intellectual, Hulu in the Wind ponders on the good and bad of human nature, government responsibilities, citizens' rights, and the redemption of faith and life through these small, concrete activities. The diary combines realistic scenes and profound reflections by using simple language.
The author writes: "If we do not establish the idea that humanity is the purpose, then an individual is just a part of a machine, and the people would become a colony of ants and bees. It is obvious there is no individual value in a colony of ants. All individuals are used to maintain the existence and development of the colony. Any individual will be sacrificed at any time for the overall benefit of the colony. Therefore, modern civilization's inevitable result is to respect and maintain each individual's health fully. The prosperity of a nation is the inevitable result of every citizen's wealth and happiness and not the other way around." "When facing dictators, there are those who fear, those who rejoice and ultimately those who fight. Even those who win in the fight will also inflict dictatorship on others. So, in the end, we must come back to the point of origin, the faith. Yes, faith is the origin of human spirituality. Faith is not a world view as we understand it; the vision of faith is beyond the world we live in."
Today, more than a year has passed since Wuhan was reopened. The people of Wuhan have resumed their everyday lives after the disaster, but the sad memories of the city's showdown still linger in people's hearts. The devil of the virus has not left Wuhan city. The people of Wuhan still do not know where the virus came from, how many people were infected and how many died. The people in power who caused the tragic showdown of Wuhan have become wise "saviors." Zhang Zhan, the
citizen journalist who reported the Pandemic, and Ren Zhiqiang, who denounced the "saviors" as monkeys, have been imprisoned. The great and the ugly people, the righteous and the wicked minds, are intertwined in the Wuhan pandemic. On March 23, Wuhan, under lockdown for two months, was about to be unlocked. In his last diary, Hulu in the Wind wrote: "I saw many people swarming the streets, men dressed in formal clothes, women dressed in flower designs. They were weightless as if they were coming with the wind. They were waiting, listening, and the voices seemed too distant, so they listened more seriously......, are they the future or the spirits of the long-dead?"
March 24 was the 62nd day of the city lockdown. Writer Fang Fang wrote the last diary of the Pandemic in Wuhan. She writes: "As citizens of Wuhan who have been locked down for more than two months, and as a writer who has witnessed the tragic days of Wuhan, we must seek justice for those who died in vain. If we give up on accountability, if we forget this tragedy, if one day we don't even remember Chang Kai's despair, then I would like to say: Wuhan people, you are not only having a disaster, but you are also in shame. The shame of forgetting! If someone wants to check this off quickly, I don't think that's possible either. So, I will write them word by word, putting them on the pillar of shame in history."
July 1, 2021, in New York