Wuhan Diary #27: The 31st Day of the Wuhan City Closure — February 22, 2020

February 22, 2020 31st Day of the Wuhan City Closure

Today I got an express package delivery – something I had ordered on January 22 before the city closed – that took a whole month to be delivered. That’s a new record for me.

Now that all of the gates of our building have been blocked, I was only able to get my package because the delivery person slipped through the gap beneath the barrier. It was a pain but as least it got delivered. The alcohol cotton swabs I ordered for my cousin on January 26 still haven’t been delivered. On January 28 they went out of stock and so we can’t buy it anymore.

It has been rumored these past two days that Wuhan will be opened to express deliveries. I hope it is true but I am afraid that many express company personnel who went home for the holidays still haven’t returned. However, a friend today ordered food delivery on his phone’s KFC app. I tried it but the KFC near me is still closed. Regardless, its a sign that things are returning to normal.

When I went downstairs to get my express package, I saw a puppy lying near the gate. The puppy belongs to a man who runs a small business opposite. Normally the dog would be tied up there on a leash but these days with the gate closed the owner doesn’t have to worry about the dog running out into the street. The little guy was rolling back and forth on the ground, basking in the sun. The sight warmed my heart.

The Wuhan Red Cross Society Hospital yesterday issued a notice that Dr. Xiao Jun from i

Image result for 肖俊医生
Dr. Xiao Jun died February 8.

its General Surgery Department died in the line of duty on February 8 after contracting new coronary pneumonia. February 8 was two weeks ago but they waited until yesterday to announce his death. No doubt this is because Dr. Li Wenliang had passed away the previous day and they were afraid of “pour oil on the fire” of popular outrage. Their cold and calculated methods of repressing public opinion have no trace of humanity in them.

I recall that evening when the news of Dr. Li Wenliang’s death was announced, there was also all kinds of “counter-propaganda” about strenuous efforts to save his life. Many people passed around a screenshot from an American TV series with the words “Only a physician can declare death, not the news”. I don’t know if the person who made that was a foreign resident in the US who had been there so long that he thought he was an American but here in China neither physicians not the news can declare death. Only leaders can.

“Sealing the mouths of the people is harder than stopping the flood of a mighty river” goes the old saying. The reason Chinese people are constantly and vigilantly watched to serve the needs of monitoring public opinion and maintaining social stability and not out of any genuine humane concern or friendliness.

Dr. Xiao Jun and I are no different. We can both die twice – once as flesh and blood and a second time for the purpose of maintaining social stability. The only difference is whether the authorities feel a need to make things happen that way.

The day before yesterday I saw a video online in which a middle-aged man yelled at a

2/21 Xiaoxiang Chenbao photo from viral video of angry hospitalized official.

nurse, asking her why she hadn’t cleaned the toilet in his sickroom. The nurse explained that another patient was being resuscitated but he kept going on and on. That arrogant and bossy attitude and way of talking to people is very common in our daily lives. Naturally it turned out that that middle-aged man was a petty official who worked in the logistics center of the Hubei Provincial Market Supervision and Management Bureau.

The words and actions of Mr. Zhu are very typical of the bureaucratic style of Mainland China officials. He had not reached the rank of commissioner or deputy commissioner in Hubei Province judiciary, or else he most certainly would have been just like Deputy Commissioner Chen Beiyang and have refused to be in a shared sickroom. I am most familiar, I think, with his eyes. Although his face is half-covered by a face mask, his eyes burn bright with anger, resentment and hatred. This is something we often see and not just from officials.

For a very long time I could never figure out why people from Mainland China could tend to indulge in that kind of anti-social behavior. I see it online in this videos about fights and arguments, in those cases of physicians murdered by their patients, in nursery school teachers molesting children, and those parents who batter their children. There are just so many malicious people intent on harming one another. The words and actions in these incidents make it look like a person is doing something like avenging the murder to their father. But actually what these things are about is often very petty that escalated into a full-fledged battle. I don’t want to claim that I am any different. I have to admit that I myself feel this evil tendency in myself, sometimes when I realize that I have these kinds of feelings, I can be astonished at myself.

This society is full of anger, like a powder keg that could blow up at any moment. Where does all this anger come from? Why are there no routine means for achieving reconciliation? Why is it customary to take out a knife when facing the weak and to act with violence against people of lower social status?

Lu Xun wrote about these aspects of the Chinese national character. Bo Yang wrote about it as well. It seems like a curse written into our very genes.

Moreover, if you have read Chinese microblogs, you would discover that these emotions have in no way diminished in young people who have had the opportunity to come into contact with modern civilization. On the contrary, the narrowly partisan attitude and actions as well as their enmity towards those who do not share their views, can be seen everywhere in emotions expressed as if they were about a son avenging the death of his father, getting even more virulent as time goes by. The Chinese Communist Party is well aware of that anti-social tendency. However it has not only not tried to curb it or guide it, it has taken advantage of that evil written into Chinese genes to strengthen their rule.

If you too have seen this, then perhaps you will feel as hopeless as I do because the venomous insects fostered by the Chinese Communist Party will certainly ensure that they forever rule this land.

A Taiwan TV series that I have followed for a long time, Someday or One Day (想见你)

has finally concluded. I bought a legal copy of the TV series from a mainland video website but I still looked for a pirated version of the Taiwan edition to see the conclusion. Watching foreign movies or videos inside China’s internet firewall is not easy. Most TV series and movies are not imported but even if they are, they will always be censored in one strange way or another. For example in the eight episode of Someday or One Day the opening scene some details about homosexuality were censored even though that scene was shot very beautifully.

Today when I read on a microblogs comparison of the Taiwan and Mainland editions of Someday or One Day, I discovered that the homosexual content had been cut and that a reference to the menstrual period of the female lead was cut from a dialogue between the male and female leads. I thought that was ridiculous. It seems that neither women’s menstrual periods nor homosexuality are in line with the core values of socialism!

Chinese text:

2月22日  武汉封城第31天



















About 高大伟 David Cowhig

After retirement translated,with wife Jessie, Liao Yiwu's 2019 "Bullets and Opium", and have been studying things 格物致知. Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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2 Responses to Wuhan Diary #27: The 31st Day of the Wuhan City Closure — February 22, 2020

  1. erooney2015 says:

    The package I sent to China took 20 days (should be 10).


    • Thank you. Interesting data point. It must vary in many complicated ways with some cities sealed, city districts sealed off from each other in some sealed cities, and in some cities like Wuhan various small communities (village equivalents you might say) sealed off by the grassroots authorities in different ways and with varying strictness.

      Liked by 1 person

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