What are we going to do without karma? I hope the people of Shanghai who vilified Fang Fang for being employed by the evil West for propagating falsehoods and exaggerating suffering during the lockdown 2 years ago can sit down in the “comfort” of their homes and read this book now.
Oh wait a minute, it’s banned. Its author Fang Fang has also been removed from the committee of Chinese Writers Association. And the folks in Shanghai are far from comfortable.
Actually, Fang Fang’s blog posts (compiled in this book) are not that offensive even though she did mention Dr Li WenLiang, the horrific food distribution problems and the dire situation inside Wuhan’s hospitals reported by her doctor friends. Not surprisingly, a lot of that is being repeated in Shanghai now. Nevertheless, I would say, most of Fang Fang’s entries are quite neutral or even positive. But as usual, as long as it doesn’t flatter and praise the authorities, it’s wrong.
The funny thing is, 2 guys were arrested for spreading rumours about Shanghai going to be locked down just before the city was actually locked down. That’s probably also a warning to anyone thinking of writing Shanghai Diary. As in Fang Fang’s case, nobody will speak out for these 2 poor innocent souls. Those who believed them and stocked up were better off than those who didn’t.
One of those who vilified Fang Fang for Wuhan Diary was her fellow author Liu Liu who had her own version of “Wuhan Diary” written much later. Of course Liu Liu’s version is far more politically correct. The greatest irony? Fang Fang is a Chinese national. Liu Liu is a Singaporean – technically at least.
Well, fast forward two years and Karma has bitten back – or so it seemed.
Liuliu (Six Six), is the pseudonym for Zhang Xin 张辛, female, Singapore citizen. She was born in Hefei, Anhui Province and migrated to Singapore in 1999 where she worked as a kindergarten teacher. She published works under the pseudonym 六六.
Although she is a fiction author, Liu Liu’s novels often touch on sensitive social issues with strong political themes and undertones. Not surprisingly, her works get plenty of promotion and publicity because of their political correctness. Her version of “Wuhan Diary” was full of praises for the Party’s draconian measures.
Fast forward 2 years, it’s Shanghai’s turn to be locked down. He parents who are living there, bore the full brunt of it, being confined at home with no access to medical care. Below is a WeChat message she wrote to her circle of friends; some in China and some in Singapore perhaps. It’s supposed to be a private message, but she probably has a couple of frenemies who leaked it out. For those who can’t read Chinese, my English translation follows.
My parents have always been very compliant with instructions from the Party. When they tested positive, they stayed at home for 17 days. They didn’t fight to hoard food items and they didn’t loiter around. They only went downstairs when they had to be tested.
On April 3, my dad was tested positive. The symptoms were mild and he tested negative after 5 days. My mother was infected on April 5th. She was not vaccinated due to her allergies. Her symptoms were slightly more severe, but she was still pretty OK for 3-4 days.
However, the residential committee kept warning her that she could be forced into quarantine at a temporary shelter. Already ill, she suffered a heart attack. She called 120 and there was no response. She went to the hospital and she had to wait in line. She was harassed by the neighborhood committee every day and asked her to go to the shelter.
She was 75-year-old old woman, who used to be alive and kicking. She even had the energy to scold us for three hours without a pause, but suddenly became feeble. There was nothing I could do. I told her not to feel so negative about the temporary shelter and wait for them to pick her up. She was already better, but when the residential committee called to pick her up to move her to the temporary shelter, her condition would act up again. She was living in constant fear and despair. She was sick but received no treatment.
On that afternoon when she had a heart attack, my father, who had already tested negative, rushed outside to get nitroglycerin. They were running out of it then. The response from the residential committee was ruthless. They threatened to move my mother to the shelter if he dared to go out. If he didn’t go out, my mother could die without the life saving medicine. Hers was a good, precious life before the lockdown!
In the neighbouring community, one patient who tested positive had died at the doorstep of the residential committee office after having fever for two days without treatment. My mom kept crying and said goodbye to us in the video call. I kept encouraging my mother: “Mom, even if you’re taken to the shelter, it will not be worse than a concentration camp. You have never lived your own life anyway. At the age of 18, you took the college entrance exam, but you were forced to go to the countryside. You couldn’t choose who to marry. The leader of the unit made you marry his nephew. This is your life. You are already 75 years old. You may live to be a 100 as long as you endure the hardship till this is over. There’s always a first time.” Those of you in my chat group, can you sense the desperation in this daughter’s words?
However, according to some sources, Liu Liu’s mother had survived the “heart attack”. Liu Liu quickly came to her senses and retracted her previous outburst.
When confronted by her apparent contradiction, or switching of sides of you will, Liu Liu explained that 2 years ago, the situation was different and Wuhan had no choice but to endure a draconian lockdown. She said that even though some people had died due to the lack of treatment or services, those were caused by specific inadequacies and isolated failures and not the lockdown per se. She added that if the authorities had not locked Shanghai down, the consequences could have been much worse. Oh yes, she had deleted that message as well as many others related to the current Shanghai lockdown.
I guess it isn’t difficult to guess which version of Wuhan Diary has more truth in it. I don’t feel comfortable having Liu Liu as a fellow citizen who can’t stop talking about 爱党爱国 while she travels in and out of Singapore holding a red passport. A Singaporean who acts like a mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party. How do you like that?