Shanghai COVID-19 Lockdown photo depicting Chinese workers administering coronavirus tests in China.

Shanghai COVID-19 Lockdown

Part of a series on COVID-19 Pandemic. [View Related Entries]

Updated Apr 19, 2022 at 04:55PM EDT by Zach.

Added Apr 19, 2022 at 12:54PM EDT by Owen.

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Shanghai COVID-19 Lockdown refers to the Chinese government's Zero-COVID strategy that resulted in a government-mandated lockdown of China's largest city, Shanghai, amid a resurgence in COVID-19 cases at the end of March 2022. Documentation of the law's strict enforcement, such as people not being able to leave their homes for weeks and suffering from food shortages, led to controversy and protests internationally. The slang term "Big Whites" also became associated with the local Chinese police and officials wearing white hazmats suits who enforced the lockdown and rigorous testing.


At the end of March 2022, the Chinese government reported roughly 32,000 new cases of COVID-19 due to a new, highly transmissible sub-variant of Omicron called BA.2.[1] As a result, they started to lockdown many large cities. On March 28th, 2022, they started the lockdown in Shanghai, originally set to last for only five days.[2] The lockdown of the city of roughly 25 million people was the largest shutdown since the closure of Wuhan at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

Going into April 2022, viral videos started to surface online showing what was happening inside Shanghai during the lockdown. For example, on April 3rd, Twitter[3] user CameronWEF posted a video that showed hungry residents in Shanghai breaking out of a compound to go food shopping. CameronWEF additionally stated, "I'm seeing more and more chaotic and disorderly videos like this every day." The video earned roughly 129,600 views in 16 days (shown below).

On April 3rd, CTV News[4] reported that despite the lockdown, COVID cases in Shanghai were increasing. Additionally, they noted that compared to the Wuhan lockdown in 2020, there was more resistance in Shanghai, mostly due to the fact that the vast majority of cases in Shanghai were not life-threatening.[4]

On April 10th, 2022, a video was reposted to YouTube that showed people in Shanghai screaming and shouting out of their apartment windows in protest of the lockdown. Over the course of nine days, it received roughly 9,100 views (shown below). It was also shared by radio host Patrick Madrid on Twitter on the 9th, however, the tweet has since been deleted. According to Yahoo News,[5] the video earned over 7 million views and over 57,000 likes in three days.

On April 17th, the lockdown purportedly reached a "turning point" in regards to the government accelerating COVID testing and the transferring of positive cases to quarantine centers.[6] On April 18th, the Chinese government announced three COVID deaths, the first reported ones since the lockdown's start.[7] As of April 19th, the lockdown has been ongoing for three weeks with no signs of lifting due to China's insistence on its controversial "zero-COVID" stretegy.

Big Whites

As the lockdown continued, police and officials wearing white hazmat suits started to be called "Big Whites." The nickname started in early April 2022 among Shanghai residents. One of the first utterances on Twitter of the term was posted by Twitter[8] user jenniferatntd on April 4th, associated with a video of Big Whites beating up a man breaking quarantine. The video earned roughly 7,200 views over the course of two weeks (shown below).

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You know the draconian bullshit may work against Hong Kong since that is a tiny place for Chinese standards filled with "weirdos" as it has "only" 7.5 million inhabitants.

But Shanghai is China's biggest city with almost 25 million citizens and that is JUST Shanghai and not the larger metropolitan area (Hong Kong number is ALL of it).

If Shanghai rises up in open rebellion over this… or at least the CCP loses a lot of popularity over it, then this can be a problem for them long term.


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