Chinese art student wears dozens of hazmat suits to treat Covid lockdown trauma

A Chinese art student in the US has demonstrated what he calls the ‘helplessness’ of living through China’s harsh pandemic restrictions by slipping into dozens of hazmat suits and walking through Times Square at New York.

Zhisheng Wu, who moved to the United States in 2021 to pursue a master’s degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, said her performance was an “expression of [the] personal emotions” he felt while living in China during the 2020 lockdowns, reports the South China Morning Post.

“As a little person, I really need to vent some of these emotions,” Wu said.

“I have to do this for me.”

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China is one of the few places in the world still resorting to tough measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and as the 20th CPC National Congress begins this week, the government has not signaled any imminent change in Politics.

Chinese cities last week imposed new travel closures and restrictions after the number of new daily Covid-19 cases tripled during a week-long holiday.

The city of Fenyang in northern Shanxi province was locked down on Monday after a preliminary positive case was found during citywide testing the day before, the state broadcaster reported.

In neighboring Inner Mongolia, the capital Hohhot announced that outside vehicles and passengers would be banned from entering the city from Tuesday.

Earlier this month, the sprawling Xinjiang region of 22 million people saw trains and buses to and from the territory suspended, and the number of passengers on flights reduced to 75% of capacity.

A health worker walks along a wall outside a gated community due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in Beijing, China.  (File photo).

Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

A health worker walks along a wall outside a gated community due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in Beijing, China. (File photo).

“Zero-Covid” has long been celebrated by Chinese leaders as proof of the superiority of their system over the United States, which has claimed over a million deaths from Covid-19.

Xi cited China’s approach as a “major strategic success” and evidence of its political system’s “significant advantages” over western liberal democracies.

Yet even as other countries open up, the humanitarian costs of China’s pandemic approach have risen. With national borders and some provinces closed, tourism has all but dried up and the World Bank predicts the economy will grow anemic at 2.8% this year.

Xinjiang has been particularly affected due to the sanctions imposed on some of its officials and products for human rights reasons.

Even without nationally identified criteria, testing and lockdowns have become the norm for tens of millions of people in China, from the North Korean border to the South China Sea, as local officials desperately seek to avoid the sanctions and criticism.

Earlier this year in Shanghai, desperate residents complained that they could not get medicine or even groceries during a two-month lockdown, while some died in hospitals from lack of medical care as the city ​​restricted movement.

Additional reports: AP

Kayleen C. Rice