Residents in Shanghai have been counting down the days until June 1, when authorities will begin lifting strict lockdown measures that have left citizens confined at home and in quarantine centers for almost two months.
China’s most populous city has become a poster child for the drawbacks of the government’s insistence on pursuing a zero-covid policy. Residents reported food shortages, struggles to get any medical help because of covid controls, and chaotic and inflexible management that have left citizens helpless, frustrated and angry.
Shanghai-based photographer, Raul Ariano, documented the experiences of some of the city’s residents by photographing friends and acquaintances remotely through video calls. Through journal entries written on scraps of paper, and even masks, they shared notes about the frustrations of living under lockdown and their dreams of a post-pandemic life. The subjects shared their stories based on the condition only their first names be used due to concerns about security in China.
I got infected by covid-19 while lining up to get my test done.
I was taken to a quarantine camp for seven days, where I slept in a swimming pool converted into a quarantine center with 200 other people.
I recovered on my own after a week and was sent back home.
They did not give me even one single pill.
So far I haven’t felt any after effects.
Of course, I’m hoping the lockdown can end as soon as possible.
Because I just really, really want to eat McDonald’s!
— Man Chun Hin, 26
Thirty-fourth day of lockdown:
Just as the saying goes: “a near neighbor is better than a distant relative.” Now I finally understand what that means. Having someone who is a capable of buying for the group is such luck.
— Fei, 28
A spring wasted to try to defeat mother nature.
A week spent in quarantine in a covid-19 isolation center.
Lights on 24 hours a day, no privacy nor shower. Too much noise.
It reminds us that camping as scouts was a luxury in comparison.
At least we will leave with determination and a desire to reconnect with living.
Maybe it was something that most of us needed: a slap in the face to understand that it is time to change.
— Alessandro, 34
The 34th day of the lockdown, I don’t know how many more days I will be in lockdown. Many of my friends have left Shanghai and China, maybe I should have made a decision to go back to Xinjiang, without the least bit of hesitation. Anyhow, Shanghai will never be the same after the lockdown.
— Junli, 23
The new kitchenware I ordered recently has yet to arrive. Seems like deliveries are resuming slowly. I don’t think I want to eat anything that I cook myself, at least for the next half a year.
The floor is dirty, and from some angles, the white dust on the floor looks like a layer of gauze.
The weather is looking good through the window, but last night I killed a mosquito.
— Alvin, 34
— Z.Y., 27
33 days in lockdown.
to an almost calm.
I want to eat well and live well,
tomorrow will be a better day.
— DoLa, 29
For the first time in my entire life I have experienced a lockdown.
Sometimes it’s better to lay back and chill. I’ll just take it as a long spring break.
This lockdown really reminds me of summer vacation,
when I was in school.
— Yilei, 38
— Lee Lin Chi, 4