News

China: Xi’an residents in lockdown trade for food amid shortage

Image source, Weibo

Image caption,

Some have shared videos on social media of them swapping cigarettes for cabbage, and a Nintendo Switch for instant noodles and steamed buns

Some residents under quarantine in the Chinese city of Xi’an have resorted to bartering supplies in recent days, as worries of food shortages continue.

Posts on social media show residents swapping supplies and even tech gadgets in exchange for food.

About13 million have been confined to their homes since 23 December, and presently cannot leave to buy food.

In recent days many have taken to social media with numerous complaints.

Authorities have been providing free food to households, but some have said their supplies are running low or that they had yet to receive aid.

Videos and photos on social media site Weibo showed people exchanging cigarettes for cabbage, dishwashing liquid for apples, and sanitary pads for a small pile of vegetables.

One video showed a resident appearing to trade his Nintendo Switch console for a packet of instant noodles and two steamed buns.

“People are swapping stuff with others in the same building, because they no longer have enough food to eat,” a resident surnamed Wang told Radio Free Asia. The news outlet also reported that another man had wanted to trade a smartphone and tablet for rice.

“Helpless citizens have arrived at the era of bartering – potatoes are exchanged for cotton swabs,” one Weibo user said, while another described it as a “return to primitive society”.

Some were more optimistic though, and commented on how “touched” they were by their neighbours’ kindness of sharing their supplies with them.

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Authorities have been providing free food to households, but some have said their supplies are running low

Xi’an is at the epicentre of China’s current Covid outbreak, and local authorities have enacted drastic measures which have attracted significant criticism online.

In a recent incident, residents in the Mingde 8 Yingli housing compound in the south of the city were reportedly told just after midnight on 1 January that they had to leave their homes and go to quarantine facilities.

The city’s outbreak is the worst China has seen in months as it pursues its zero Covid strategy.

The government hopes to eliminate the outbreak before Lunar New Year and the Winter Olympics in Beijing next month.

More on this story

Leave a Comment