Viral footage has revealed horrifying scenes in China as millions of people remain trapped in their homes thanks to extreme new Covid lockdown measures.
According to a shocking analysis by CNN, more than 70 Chinese cities have been subjected to full or partial lockdowns since late last month, impacting more than 300 million people.
And in a chilling change, authorities are now resorting to drones to maintain law and order, with videos circulating on social media revealing the new “dystopian” reality.
The footage shows drones flying over cities such as Wuxi and repeating the message that: “This community is in total lockdown now. Stay in your room.”
Social commentator James Melville is one of many Twitter users to share the clip, describing the situation as “dystopian nightmare as reality”.
Another verified account, Wall Street Silver, posted that: “If you need a visualisation of Orwell’s 1984, this is probably as close as you can get”, while former BBC reporter Alex Belfield wrote: “No more goons from the police threatening humans and herding the public into camps. This year, it’s screaming drones filming through your window.”
It comes just days after footage emerged of locked-down apartment towers in the megacity of Chengdu in late August which captured the voices of residents “screaming … in despair” as they were forced into isolation without food and supplies, leaving them “at the point of starvation”.
Photos shared to social media have also shown the southwestern Sichuan province capital in total disarray, as Chinese locals scrambled to purchase household goods as the lockdown got underway.
Videos showed Chengdu citizens swarming stores, stripping shelves, packing trolleys and bulk buying items including vegetables and meat, as residents braced for the worst.
And experts agree more cities will almost certainly be locked down in the weeks ahead as a result of China’s aggressive Covid zero policy in the lead up to the 20th Party Congress, which will kick off on October 16 and which will likely cement Chinese president Xi Jinping’s historic third term in power.
“The Party wants to make sure nothing untoward, such as a major outbreak, could potentially threaten social stability, shadow the leadership transition process – and not to mention tarnish Xi’s personal leadership credibility,” senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, Yanzhong Huang, told CNN of the draconian measures.
China’s string of disasters
The increasingly brutal Covid measures come amid a tumultuous time for China, with the nation recently battered by a string of natural disasters and economic uncertainty.
On Monday, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck southwest China, leaving dozens dead.
At the same time, the country is bracing for impact as Typhoon Hinnamnor threatens the region, with China’s National Meteorological Centre issuing a yellow typhoon warning over the weekend, warning of heavy rains in northeastern Zhejiang, Shanghai and self-governing Taiwan.
China is also grappling with a record-breaking heatwave and drought which has led to factory closures, and Chinese homeowners continue to take part in unprecedented mortgage boycotts as the property industry also tanks at the same time as the Chinese yuan continues to weaken.
Last month, China announced an ambitious $A63 billion, 19-point plan to bolster its ailing financial system in yet another sign that the economy was in trouble, and a combination of these crises has led to growing discontent among the Chinese populace, and cast doubt on Xi’s future leadership.
Speaking at the 2022 World Economic Forum in Davos in May this year, billionaire George Soros claimed “Xi Jinping is bound to fail”, citing his dogged Covid policy as the reason for his supposed downfall.