China Struggles to Contain ‘Voice of April’ Viral Video on Shanghai Lockdown


A viral video allegedly showcasing real Shanghai residents complaining about the Communist Party’s brutal coronavirus lockdown of China’s largest city went viral this weekend in the country, reportedly vexing censors attempting to suppress it.

The six-minute video, titled “The Voice of April,” features audio recordings of alleged local residents of Shanghai complaining about livelihood conditions and lack of medicine and supplies.

The video begins with recordings of official Chinese government announcements in which they deny the “rumors” that Shanghai would be placed under a severe citywide lockdown — followed by snippets recorded throughout the month of April that illustrate the suffering Shanghai’s residents have gone through after the Chinese government placed the city under the lockdown it denied would ever happen. Communist Party leaders claim the lockdown is necessary to contain an outbreak of the omicron variant of Chinese coronavirus.

“Since the outbreak began in Shanghai, so many people have spoken out in the past month. However, the majority of these voices were quickly wiped off the Chinese internet and people have grown numb to the situation as time went by,” the original post said, before it was deleted.

“The Voice of April” instantly went viral on Chinese social media websites Weibo and WeChat before the Chinese government, which heavily regulates both sites, deleted it. Chinese users defied the censorship and continued to circulate the video with different titles and through the use of embedded QR codes on images, mirroring the video, applying filters to it, and uploading it via cloud services.

Copies of the video are readily available outside China on websites such as YouTube, where copies of the video with unofficial English subtitles can also be found.

The over 20 audio clips feature the voices of individuals identified as inhabitants of Shanghai complaining about their current living conditions as a consequence of the lockdowns, such as residents of a compound clamoring for supplies and even an alleged government official frustrated at the lack of food and medicine.

“This virus can’t kill us. Starvation can,” a male voice can be heard saying, according to the unofficial translation.

The video also features recorded voices of residents locked inside their apartments, someone claiming to be the owner of a dog who witnessed Communist Party officials killing her dog, people in need with conditions aside from Chinese coronavirus accusing hospitals of denying them care, and individuals accusing the government of locking them down in their homes, among others. The video culminates with a “get better soon, Shanghai,” message.

After the video went viral and was banned, its creator, who goes by the pseudonym “Strawberry Fields Forever,” said he was “touched” by the messages received, but presumably terrified of any repercussions of the Chinese government he urged people to stop sharing the video.

The strict lockdown imposed upon Shanghai as part of the Chinese government’s “zero-Covid” policy has brought upon a severe food shortage and has made it extremely difficult for its 26 million inhabitants to obtain food, supplies, and medical assistance. Civil unrest and protests have reportedly taken place. Residents are reportedly being kept locked inside their households, with door alarms installed to prevent any escape. Officials have forcibly evacuated residents from their apartments and houses, and tossed them into quarantine isolation centers.

Those who test positive for the Chinese coronavirus are sent to cramped and crowded quarantine centers, where reports indicated they endure unsanitary and inhumane conditions, with barely any food and no privacy. Despite the strict measures taken by the Chinese government, daily record deaths have been documented in Shanghai – according to Chinese regime statistics.

As the Communist Party heavily censors any information coming out of China, the evidence of the reality in Shanghai has surfaced around the world largely in snippets of videos circulated online and is difficult to independently verify. Government propaganda outlets such as the Global Times have admitted, however, that the lockdown has brought residents “doubt, anxiety, and fatigue.”

Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.