Internet users in China are rallying to outwit the communist government censors on a video documenting weeks of lockdown in Shanghai. The video is flooding social media feeds as frustration continues to escalate over China’s strict Covid Zero rules.
A six-minute video titled “Sounds of April” was posted on Weibo on Friday and was quickly censored by Beijing once it became viral.
The video was then uploaded by Chinese WeChat users in various forms, including upside-down and mirrored versions, until late at night, when newly uploaded clips were also taken down.
You can watch the video with English subtitles on YouTube.
On a slowly-moving white-and-black background, the film spliced sound samples from government press briefings, voice recordings seeking medical help, hunger-stricken residents in unison begging the government for food, and locals at work helping one another.
The caption concluded by saying “Get well soon, Shanghai,” and mentioning that it was shot and edited by someone named Cary.
China Sensors on WeChat
Additionally, social media users shared a clip from the song Do You Hear the People Sing? It was censored during pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in 2019 and briefly reemerged in disarray after the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China that was later suppressed by China News.
There were also videos featuring speakers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, quotations from Mao Zedong, and clips from revolutionary Chinese films – all about a citizen’s right to speak out.
In a WeChat post, a user said, “If someone asked me why I keep posting these videos, I would tell them that they keep censoring them.”
On Saturday, Shanghai, China reported 23,504 new Coronavirus cases and 12 deaths. While the city has been in strict lockdown for more than 4 weeks, residents in eastern parts of the city or in neighborhoods with confirmed outbreaks have been trapped in their apartments for longer.
In the past few weeks, residents have become increasingly angry because of the lack of food and low-quality government rations, as well as clashes with police about new isolation centers opening nearby.
An Outpouring of support for “Sounds of April”
On Friday, the municipal government announced nine measures it will take to achieve the goal of “no community spread,” which has eluded the city despite weeks of lockdown. Essentially, the plan reiterated existing measures and vowed to strictly enforce rules, disappointing those who expected that restrictions would be gradually eased.
Some users compared the outpouring of support for “Sounds of April” to the night two years ago when Wuhan-based doctor Li Wenliang, who had warned of a Sars-like illness, died.
During Li’s life, the public became inflamed because he had released early warnings about the virus and was reprimanded for rumor-mongering by local police. The authorities later honored his death in an attempt to minimize public outrage.