amw (amw) wrote,

surprise! the creamy, authoritarian center

After i posted my last entry i continued drinking. I'm not sure why. It's really not a very useful way to spend my three day weekend. Now that i am old, hangovers last for two days, which means on the third day when i am actually recovered enough to do something, i just do chores.

The fact i am drinking so heavily and frequently i think is a sign of how unhappy i am, even though i might not be noticing the unhappiness consciously, or in my sober state.

I left the house around 4am to go buy more alcohol. The 24 hour convenience store downstairs was shut. What!? I've noticed it being shut several times now since they moved the fences to place my building outside the checkpoint zone. I am quite sure it's struggling due to the nearby university being closed. No students are around to come from one side of the road, and the fenced-in village means no migrant workers can come from the alleys on the other side.

Naturally i decided to press on with my mission.

I walked around to the checkpoint to try get into the village and go to one of the 24 hour convenience stores on the other side of the fence.

No dice.


I never noticed it before because up until now i went to my own 24 hour convenience store for emergency rum. As it turns out, from midnight to 6am my village is under strict curfew. Nobody is allowed in or out. There are cops manning the checkpoints but the gates are closed.

Please note that my village did not have gates before. They have all been set up since the February lockdown - constructed from crowd control barriers, sandbags, plywood and abandoned share bikes.

Me, being my drunken fucking self, started "what the fuck"-ing the guards, which was probably not the wisest move, but seriously: what the fuck!?

I could see a convenience store open on the other side of the fence and figured i could trial the thing people did with the downstairs convenience store when my building was on the inside of the fence - yelling out orders to the 老板 (boss).

It worked.

老板 came and gave me my beer, i paid using Alipay, then stomped back to my building, cursing all the way.

Then, apparently (as i discovered the next morning), i posted a rant on Facebook about how shit the Chinese government is and how all the propaganda is lies. I think Facebook was pissing me off because so many people on there who don't even live in China are repeating the myth that everything is fine here now thanks to the speedy actions of a government far better than their own.

Fuck, even the mainstream media is posting misleading information - reporting about cities up in Heilongjiang fencing off neighborhoods to deal with new outbreaks coming over from Russia, like it's some kind of brand new thing. This is when you realize how blind the western media is to what's really happening in China, thanks to the CPC restrictions on reporting. Dear western media: the lockdown in Dongbei is the same fucking lockdown as what we had before! Maybe journalists made to stay in ritzy Shanghai neighborhoods didn't notice it before, but here in poor China we all got our fucking houses fenced in by the government, yo! That lockdown didn't lift!

For those keeping score at home: after a month of lockdown where only restaurants and grocery stores were allowed to open, we spent another month slowly reopening shops, offices and factories. Two months from the start of the lockdown, everything was full-ass open again.

Except it isn't really, is it? Because every neighborhood still has fences around it, and checkpoints do not allow outsiders in. Some checkpoints are less stringent than others, and they will allow you through with "just" a temperature check or a green rating on the health code app, but most of them require proof of residence too. Or - at least - they are definitely not allowing me through without it. Given the racist shit that has been happening in Guangzhou and the xenophobic stuff online, i wouldn't be surprised if local authorities are deliberately turning back foreigners, whether that's the official policy or not.

So, we have fences and checkpoints and you are only allowed to visit the neighborhood where you live and the neighborhood where you work. Except, you can't even do that between the hours of midnight and 6am. So now i get why the late night street vendors have disappeared, and why even though in theory bars, 大排档 and KTVs have reopened, in reality they aren't bumping and thumping through the night like they used to.

24 hour convenience stores are no longer 24 hours. The supermarket still has reduced hours, so by the time i get home from work, i cannot buy food. Along my street, at least half of the restaurants either never reopened or reopened for a week or two and then promptly went bust because there are no customers any more. Inside the village things are bustling, but i can't get in there without doing a massive detour around to the checkpoint. Which anyway i can't do after midnight. At work i can't visit half the restaurants i used to go for lunch because i'm not allowed into any of the villages over that side of town. The low-end economy can't recover because the government isn't letting it recover.

This is not an unlock for working class people, y'all. Everything that can reopen has reopened, but when movement is restricted like this, they can't get customers like they used to. It turns the city into a bunch of tiny scattered islands where the government controls the only ferry. Which basically means we're not living in a fucking city any more, we're living in a bunch of workers' dorms. What's the point of a city where people don't get to move around freely?

Tags: alcoholism, bird in a gilded cage, china, news
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