Chinese Factory Workers Hit Guards, Climb Barricades to Escape Lockdown

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Hundreds of workers at a technology factory in Shanghai, China, protested the strict COVID-19 lockdown on Thursday by storming the barriers and fighting with security.

While the rest of the world has begun moving to an endemic phase in order to live with the virus, China has fought the virus with large-scale lockdowns in an attempt to eradicate COVID-19 outbreaks. The city of Shanghai and its 26 million residents have been in a strict lockdown since the end of March, and residents of the city have begun protesting the procedures.

On Thursday, workers at a factory in Shanghai owned by Taiwan’s Quanta Computer Inc., that makes devices like MacBook Pros for Apple, began rushing the metal barriers and clashing with security guards in an attempt to break free.

Radio Free Asia (RFA), a broadcasting corporation, posted a video on Twitter that showed hundreds of workers rushing toward the barricades and fighting with one another.

RFA wrote along with the video, which was translated from Chinese by Google, “As seen in the video, hundreds of young employees did not obey the command, jumped over the gate and ran away, and rushed out of the blockade to clash with the guards. It is reported that employees are dissatisfied with the epidemic prevention and control and want to go out to buy civilian materials.”

The tweet added that “Quanta’s Shanghai plant was shocked to hear that employees ‘rioted.'”

Bloomberg reported that the factory workers are under a “closed-loop system,” meaning the workers are currently living and sleeping on the factory property or in nearby accommodation that they are shuttled to and from in an effort to mitigate contact between people who could spread the virus.

According to Taiwanese media outlet UDN, the dispute at the Quanta factory came after workers attempted to return to the dormitories following their shifts.

China’s “zero-COVID” policies have all been in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. According to Our World in Data, China has reported 12,096 new cases in the last seven days. Shanghai on Monday reported 3,947 cases in the last 24 hours and 11 deaths, according to the Associated Press.

Shanghai government has implemented strict lockdowns, with some residents being stuck indoors for weeks on end, as well as mass mandatory testing for all 26 million Shanghai residents. The lockdowns, in turn, have pushed some residents over the edge.

Zhang Chen, a researcher with a technology company, told the Associated Press, “I don’t know what will happen in May, but after the lockdown, I think I’ll need psychological help.”

Newsweek reached out to the Quanta Computer Inc. Factory for comment.

Shanghai China COVID-19
Shanghai factory workers rioted on Thursday night over COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. In this photo, workers mark a perimeter around a neighbourhood under a Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown in the Jing’an district in Shanghai on May 4, 2022.
HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images



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