Panic buying grips China’s capital as residents fear another Shanghai-esque lockdown

Philip Lenczycki, DCNF

Panic buying and hoarding has gripped China’s capital city as fears of a hard lockdown looms, multiple sources reported.

Empty shelves increasingly plague grocery stores and markets across Beijing as over 20 million residents rush to stock up on food and daily necessities, with growing concerns the capital will soon face the same fate as ShanghaiInsider reported.

The Chinese government began mass testing residents within Beijing’s diplomatic district, Chaoyang, on Monday, according to CNN, where a majority of coronavirus cases have surfaced. The government then announced its intention to test nearly all of Beijing’s inhabitants on Tuesday, according to Forbes, forcing anxious residents to stand in long lines at both grocery stores and testing stations.

Thus far, only 100 Omicron cases have been detected, NBC News reported.

While Chinese state-run media outlet Global Times acknowledged pork prices had risen in Beijing and that “temporary shortages of supplies” affected certain markets, its report ultimately expressed confidence supplies would meet the increased demand.

Panic-buying has been a recurring problem in China since at least November, Reuters reported, when the Ministry of Commerce issued an unprecedented bulletin encouraging citizens to stockpile basic goods, which reportedly sparked long lines, hoarding and empty shelves in many areas.

While the Beijing municipal government has not announced it intends to implement a hard lockdown, according to Reuters, tension runs high in the capital in light of how Shanghai’s lockdown has unfolded.

In mid-March Shanghai told residents there was no foreseeable lockdown, however, on April 5 the municipal government reversed course and imposed a city wide lockdown in accordance with Xi Jinping’s signature zero-COVID policy, sending China’s financial hub spiraling into widespread food shortagesprotestslooting and casual brutality.

Shanghai has now confirmed over 500,000 COVID-19 cases with conditions reportedly so dire that residents have even begun to risk retribution by taking to social media to rage against their ill-treatment, openly confessing their loss of faith in government.

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