Beijing Residents Empty Supermart Shelves On Lockdown Fears
Shoppers flooded stores and supermarkets in Beijing Monday, April 25, 2022, amid rising COVID-19 cases and as authorities sealed off a number of residential districts in the central Chaoyang district, Raymong Chung, Fong Tak Ho, Qiao Long, and Hsia Hsiao-hwa reported for Radio Free Asia (RFA).
Photo Insert: A prominent supermart in China
Store shelves in the Chinese capital were rapidly emptying of basic foodstuffs, fresh fruit and vegetables, sanitary supplies, and Coca-Cola, as people scrambled to lay in stores for prolonged restrictions on their freedom of movement.
Pork, steak and burgers, onion, ginger, and coriander were among the first to go, as online posts suggested buying a second refrigerator or freezer to store food in for the long haul.
Chaoyang district has launched a program of district-wide mass COVID-19 testing, to be repeated three times over the next week, a local resident surnamed Sun told RFA, which is funded by the US federal government.
"There was an infection source traced to Chuiyangliu in Chaoyang district," he said. "All staff will undergo PCR testing today, and again on Wednesday and Friday, three times in all," Sun said. "A lot of people are now buying food."
Another resident said many store shelves now stand empty. "Residents rushed to buy food at various supermarkets in Beijing yesterday, all the food is gone, and the shelves are empty," the resident said.
Current affairs commentator Li Ang said the authorities have shown in their handling of the Shanghai lockdown that they are less concerned about COVID-19 than they are about potential social unrest.
"The main point is to strengthen their control of society in an all-round way, to prevent trouble, any unexpected incidents from happening," Li said. "The first thing they consider is the stability of the regime, and the second is the security of the regime."