“Why are we blindfolded, our mouths covered? (Comments on the Wailing Wall by Li Wenliang, May 1-15, 2022)

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More than two years after whistleblower Dr. Li Wenliang‘s death from COVID-19, the comments section under his last Weibo post, which became known as “The Chinese Wailing Wallcontinues to serve as a repository of the hopes, dreams, concerns and opinions of countless Chinese citizens. CDT editors regularly archive and translate Contents of the Wailing Wallincluding the selection of comments below.

This month, many commentators have written about the long lockdowns in Shanghai and other cities, lockdown fatigue, quarantine stays, and loved ones lost to COVID-19. Some have lamented that for very young children growing up during the pandemic, this reality is all they have ever known. Others discussed the state of the economy, the challenge of finding or keeping a job, and the stress of coping with bills, mortgages and car payments. There were references to current events such as the death of 53 people when a building collapsed in Changsha, Hunan Province; to viral content, including a meme derived from a lockdown video about it”the last generation”; and the recent online debate about whether or not this era could bring about a new Lu Xun.

The following commentaries on the wailing wall, selected and translated by the editors of CDT, were originally published during the first two weeks of May 2022 (May 1-7 and May 8-15).

runnermore:🦠 is not scary; what frightens is ignorance and prejudice.

Lacey_Shan:Dr. Li, will there be a Lu Xun for this era?

[…] 从从从德德德德:Dr. Li, I’ve been locked up in Shanghai for 48 days now, and my patience with this pandemic is running out. The stress of paying my mortgage, car loan and everything else is so overwhelming I can barely breathe. It also really shook my faith. There are people here who take advantage [from the zero-COVID policy], and I have to ask myself: what kind of people are we protecting? I’m really confused. I hope you are doing well in paradise. 🙏

小田同学yq:I finally found myself in a fangcang [makeshift quarantine hospital]. Every day I tremble with fear. I feel like it’s hard on everyone here too. It is freezing at night and very hot during the day. I don’t know when this will all be over, but it must be soon, right? It’s going to be okay, isn’t it?

[…] 一条饿龙z:Dr. Li, why are we blindfolded with our mouths covered? Why can’t we see the suffering of others, why can’t we talk?

百倍心跳:Dr. Li, I went to see [Hangzhou’s] West Lake today. I’m leaving Hangzhou to live with my boyfriend in another city. In addition, a building collapsed in Changsha and 53 lives were lost. Most of them were medical students, still in the prime of life. I hope you are at peace, and I hope those young women who died can also rest in peace.

[…] 惪恴悳棏:Dr. Li, youth only lasts a few years, and the pandemic has occupied three of those years. No one knows when the pandemic will end. These university years should be the best years of my life. They shouldn’t be spent like this, isolated in a dorm taking online classes or waking up early every day to take nucleic acid tests. I moved to this new city for college, and I should be out there exploring it, not locked in this tiny little space… I’m so sick of this pandemic. [泪][泪][泪][泪]

[…] 李_芊烨:It’s 2022, the epidemic isn’t over and doesn’t want to end either. Every day I wake up with news about new variants or mutations, or countries choosing to co-exist with the virus. In some Chinese cities, everyone is working together to put in place measures to protect and control the pandemic. In other cities, it’s just disgusting: the pandemic has brought out real ugliness. A five-year-old child, living with the pandemic since his third birthday, heard adults say that before, it was not necessary to wear a mask to go out. He asked, “Weren’t you afraid of the virus when you were kids? Sigh. 😔 There must be an end to this, surely?

[…] 无可奈何wghh:Some nights when I miss my mother, I come to visit you. [Chinese]

半烟云:Dr. Li, two patients came to our hospital today. They live in Fengxian District [in Shanghai]. Every time they go to see a doctor and go home, they have to ‘keep silent’ [isolate] in their housing estate for five days before being able to leave. Otherwise, the couple would have to live in their car. The man’s operation was originally scheduled for the 20th, so doctors decided to bring the date forward. I was sad to hear that. 😣 This world is so miserable.

__半天:Dr. Li, I was quarantined in Shanghai for almost two months. I can accept higher food prices and wake up to daily nucleic acid antibody tests. But my wife is about to have a baby, and there are no car rentals or direct high-speed trains, and it’s hard to buy a ticket. I can not stand it anymore.

[…] Liam白菜3:They plant flowers along the empty roads. Our housing complex has been closed for 50 days, and other than picking up trash, nothing has been put away. There’s dog poop and kitchen scraps strewn all over the floor. It’s been hot lately and everything is infested with flies. The risk of other infectious diseases should not be overlooked. But now it’s all about “zero-COVIDand no one cares about people’s livelihoods.

[…] 就想让你好好的:Brother Liang, I’m so poor, my school is always exploiting us, and I don’t know what to do. But here I am, standing on the podium with my meager 2000 yuan [$300 U.S. dollars] monthly salary and telling my students to study hard because knowledge can change their lives for the better.

[…] 像风像雨又像海1027_269: Master Li, my mother passed away from COVID-19. I am the only one left in the family. My mother was a really, really nice person. If you see her, tell her I love her.

[…] 山中清景:It’s been over six months since my last comment. During this time, I officially came out to my family. The result was that they completely cut me off. Although the future is uncertain, I have no regrets. [打call]

[…] Harrison-Hong:I had my first Weibo account in ten years, but because I reposted and commented on your Weibo account, I got banned for life. I completely gave up on that whole Weibo bastard. I only signed up for this new account so I could appeal [Weibo’s decision]. Recently, the pandemic has become serious again. It made me think of you again.

[…] frhsm: Sorry, brother! I haven’t been here for months. I changed jobs again in my forties, for the sake of my son and my family, and it was really hard! [蜡烛][蜡烛][蜡烛]

[…] 漏沙5871:There has been a positive case of COVID in the same building as my company, and all company employees have been centrally quarantined for a minimum of 14 days. As a small business owner, I will probably have to close the business. I just hired three new employees in March. Their last business closed, and now they are going to look for work again, but I have no choice. In April, I fired an employee who was on probation. He cried and told me he had been unemployed for four months, and asked if I would let him stay on half pay, but I couldn’t. I could not do anything. I have to make a living too.

[…] DAWN_QIN:the last generation. [Chinese]

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