February 20th, 2020

mom walk

our company has been approved to go back to work

I don't want to go back to work.

We had a Shenzhen all hands at 4.30pm today where they announced over Zoom that we have received government approval to come back to the office on Monday, February 24th. Hooray! That's good, right?


Immediately after announcing that we were to be coming back to the office, they said that on Monday nobody was allowed back to the office except for the coronavirus task force. The task force will be doing all the prep that is required to ensure the office meets whatever arbitrary "back to work" standards the government is enforcing.

This includes. People will be split up into separate work units. They must rotate one day on, one day off. To minimize cross-infection, there is to be absolutely no switching of shifts or coming in on the wrong day. There is to be no family, friends or any external people whatsoever allowed into the office at any time. If you are returning from anywhere outside of Guangdong province, does not matter where, there is a mandatory 2 week self-isolation policy - work from home. Every time you enter and exit the building there is a mandatory temperature check. Every employee must also self-check their temperature twice a day. Any employee who goes over temperature must immediately go into a quarantine space and wait for the authorities to pick them up. Every employee must wear a facemask at all times. All employees must go to mandatory coronavirus health trainings before being allowed back into the office.


As they were reading out these rules and regulations, my heart just dropped to the floor. I felt physically ill. I literally could not believe what i was hearing. What the fucking fuck is this? This is worse than being an inpatient in a fucking psychiatric emergency ward. I know. I've been there, done that. This is worse than pretty much any hospital ward, i think. This is worse than prison, except i suppose at least you can quit work and you can't quit prison.

I just... i was shocked, absolutely shocked and appalled. Then up came the questions on Slido (one of the tools we use to allow employees to ask questions at all-hands meetings). "Can the company give us free parking, since public transport is not safe?" "Can the company please give a detailed report of their daily disinfection policy?" "Tencent are staying closed till March, we should stay closed too!" etc etc. My supposedly highly-educated colleagues are scared witless of this virus. They are looking at this completely fucking fascist totalitarian bullshit and saying "please sir, may i have some more?"

FUCK THIS SHIT. Who are these people?

There are only 400 cases in this entire city of over 10 million people. Even if there were 40,000 cases, who fucking cares? That would still be less than 0.5% of the people. With 200 employees in Shenzhen, maybe one would be sick. And that's assuming the real situation is two orders of magnitude worse than reported!

I am just... i can't even express my dismay. I am utterly, utterly appalled that our office is not only implementing the performative nonsense that the government mandates, but that they're going even further with it. It makes me physically sick.

I sent a very angry email to HR - my second one this week.

Did i already tell y'all that on Tuesday every employee was asked to fill out a form detailing all of their travel from the last month, everyone who they have had contact with, plus answer health-related questions like "did you have diarrhea", "did you have a dry cough" etc? I was fuming at the outrageous breach of privacy, but given i had to go through almost the exact same fucking bullshit with the local government just to be allowed into my own village i figure these shitheads know everything about me anyway.

So yeah, this week i have been very, very angry. I am not naïve. I know i am living in an authoritarian country. I know my company has to bow down and kiss the feet of the party because they have no choice in the matter. But i still expect my workplace to be a safe space. And that means i am expecting that all of the police state bullshit that the government has implemented to restrict people's movements out on the streets doesn't follow me into the office.

I mean, what's the point of going back to the office if i am basically in a fucking Xinjiang-style labor camp?

Anyway, after that meeting i turned off my video feed and started crying. I normally consider myself a pretty tough person. I don't cry much. But the shock of hearing all of this shit, it just broke me.

I am still shaking and it's 4 hours later. I just can't believe it. I can't believe people aren't as outraged as i am. This is the fucking worst.