Wuhan Diary #41 The 45th Day of the Wuhan City Closure — March 7, 2020

March 7, 2020 The 45th Day of the Wuhan City Closure

Today is the first day that I have participated in the community group vegetable purchase. This wasn’t the group food purchase from the supermarket organized by officials but done instead by placing an order through a WeChat Mini Program open source app. This enables people from the same community to place an order together. Each package you order weighs five or six pounds so it can be a bit too much for a small family but unlike the supermarkets, you are not getting unsaleable goods, there is no minimum purchase, they can still deliver to the entrance of the community and the prices are a bit lower than the supermarket. So it is the best choice for me.

Once I get a notice from the group, I can go downstairs to pick it up. I wait for a while at home and don’t leave until I expect that I will be the last one. Mother gets angry that I go so late, thinking that the others will have gotten the good stuff and I will only get left-overs. I think in these times it is better not to fight in a scrum. Getting infected for the sake of a few vegetables doesn’t make any sense. When I get to the food pick-up point, I find that I am indeed last, that the vegetables are all pre-packaged so there isn’t any pick-and-choose. I hadn’t expected that I would get a few extra garlic sprouts for being the last one – the delivery guy just gave them to me. Life is like that, always full of the unexpected. I didn’t care about losing out some but ended up being pleasantly surprised to get a bit extra.

The potatoes I bought last week have already germinated. It can’t be helped. We get plenty of vegetables through our group purchases but if we don’t consume them in a short time the easily go bad. That is hard to avoid. Fortunately with potatoes if you cut off the part that is germinating, you can still eat it. I heard earlier that some of the bean products from group purchases were going bad and that sometimes the pork stank.

Recently many communities have been distributing “Caring Provisions”. Our

Image result for 爱心物资 蔬菜
240 tons of donated food supplies on their way from Sichuan Province to Wuhan.

community also gets them and once I got a notice about them in our community WeChat group. There was a violent scrum for the provisions at the distribution point; some people got hurt when they tripped and fell. After that I didn’t get anymore notices to pick up provisions. Our community network manager said that after that those provisions were being set aside for households in particularly difficult circumstances such as widows, widowers and elderly people living alone. Fine, if they are really doing things that way. The only question is that the varieties, quantities and distribution of these “Caring Provisions” is never published one might suspect that something funny is going on behind the scenes. During the state of emergency I don’t get too excited about that, but some people do, and in the end this will cause problems between the residents and the community administration. Once this epidemic is finally over, our community will feel its repercussions for a long time to come.

The government recently released some meat stocks at a very low price although quantities were limited. Our community issued a notice and mother had me buy some. I have doubts however about the quality of the meat from the government stockpile. In the past some so-called “vampire meat”– years old frozen meat of uncertain quality — got on the market from government stocks. Although now we are in a sudden epidemic outbreak, I still have a hard time believing that the meat is of good quality.

One of my classmates stayed in Beijing to work after graduation. This year she didn’t manage to get back to Wuhan before the epidemic broke out. Her parents in Wuhan became infected with the new coronavirus. Just at the time when hospital beds were in short supply, she asked for help on our classmates’ WeChat group, hoping that someone could arrange for her parents to be hospitalized. Fortunately that auntie and uncle persisted in trying to find a hospital. Yesterday evening I heard that they were both cure although auntie is still in the hospital and uncle is in isolation in a quarantine facility.

Many times after graduation I regretted my choice and really felt that I should have left Wuhan. For grown children to be living with their parents really is a disaster! I always do worry though, since I am an only child and my parents are getting older, particularly public homes for the aged are of very uncertain quality, can I really abandon all responsibility for them?

After the sudden outbreak of this epidemic, I more than once rejoiced that I am at home together with them. I made sure that the wear their face masks properly and that they don’t go outside. I take care of buy food by express delivery. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be in my classmates’ position. I don’t know what I would do. It would have driven me absolutely crazy.

What can we do? If they make us live in an abnormal society, we’ll just have to get on by living abnormally.

Yesterday evening, the new Wuhan City Communist Party Committee Secretary Wang Zhonglin called a video conference of the Wuhan Municipal New Coronavirus Epidemic Prevention and Control Headquarters. At the conference, he stated “We shall carry out gratitude education amongst the broad masses of the entire city so that people will be grateful to the Communist Party General Secretary [Xi Jinping], grateful to the Communist Party, obey the Communist Party, follow the Communist Party, and so become a source of powerful positive energy. ”

I think that must be a consequence of the incident at the Gongguan Community in the

the Kaiyuan neighborhood of the Qingshan District. Those voices that yelled out “Its all fake!” embarrassed the leadership so they need to reprimand us. That is absurd! It is just so absurd that I can’t keep myself from laughing. Grateful? Grateful for Li Wenliang or for Wang Guangfa? Grateful to the medical workers who came to Wuhan from the outside or grateful to the Wuhan Red Cross Society? Grateful to the volunteers or grateful to the Health Commission? Grateful to the Communist Party General Secretary? Grateful to the government and to the State for the false reports and dereliction of duty that led to the loss of thousands of lives and shattered innumerable families?

According to official figures, the death count in Wuhan as of yesterday was 2349. I don’t

Circulating online
in China of a blindfolded
man on log surrounded by
sharks. Banner flying above
the log reads “Gratitude”

believe that number. We may never know. There are still many thousands of seriously ill people in the hospitals. There are innumerable dead, just innumerable bones that have not yet cooled down, innumerable ashes that have not yet been interred, innumerable people who never got a chance to say goodbye.

Not only that, we are today still confined to our homes, the schools are still closed, and factories and businesses have not yet gone back to work. There are still many thousands of people at the fangcang temporary shelter hospitals and at quarantine centers who cannot yet return home. The delivery of supplies hasn’t yet returned to normal. Just a few days ago there were still people jumping off buildings to their deaths. … And now they want us to be grateful?

Yes, we Wuhan people certainly are grateful. We are grateful for the kindness and assistance that has come in from around the world. We are grateful for the sacrifices of medical workers. We are grateful for the selfless contributions of volunteers. We are grateful for the countless numbers of ordinary people who have kept on working through it all. Wuhan people are not ingrates. We remember those who have helped us.

However, we have suffered so much sorrow, pain and fear. Who will take responsibility for that? Who is responsible for the false reporting? Who is responsible for the malpractice of the Red Cross Society? Who is responsible for stuffing their own pockets with profits from selling relief supplies? Who is responsible for all those people holding do-nothing jobs in government departments? The normal life of the city has already been halted for 45 days. Who is responsible for that?

And as for “strengthening gratitude education”, wouldn’t it be far better to have an education that develops a sense of honor?

Chinese text:

3月7日 武汉封城第45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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