It has been more than two weeks since Shigatse city, Tibet, China, announced its lockdown on Aug. 8. Due to the sudden lockdown, many tourists are stranded. On Aug. 22, some tourists rushed out of the hotel and took to the streets to protest to go home.
At 4 p.m. on Aug. 22, Tibetan officials announced during a press conference on the epidemic that, as of 24 hours on Aug. 21, Tibet had designated 524 high-risk areas and 289 medium-risk areas, with a total of 4,427 stranded tourists there. However, the actual situation is yet to be verified.
Tourists take to the streets to protest being trapped
A screenshot of stranded tourists’ conversation in Shigatse city showed their despair. According to the notice, tourists who have negative test results for three consecutive days are allowed to go home. However, on the return day, they were held back. The incident caused a wave of discontent. Besides, many people’s health and mentality are affected due to poor living conditions, especially the elderly, young children, and pregnant women. Centralized isolation is also not guaranteed, easily causing cross-infection. When receiving complaints, local officials denied responsibility, saying tourists must wait as it is a Beijing central authority directive, and the local authority itself cannot solve it.
Ms. Lin, a Guangdong resident, describes the actual situation in more detail.
Lin was on a self-driving tour with her friends in Gyirong district, Shigatse city. Since Aug. 7, she has been detained locally. In an interview with The Epoch Times reporter on Aug. 22, Lin said that tourists rushed out of the hotel to protest to go home.
Lin said that her mind was affected because she had been locked here all the time, worrying every day. Then, her body was in great pain. Her psychophysiology reached a certain limit.
In addition, many older people and children there need insulin (the body’s primary anabolic hormone, which helps regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins). As a result, they will all experience certain problems, such as mental and physical problems.
Lin said that authorities’ policies are changing rapidly, leaving tourists at a disadvantage.
She said: “We have been classified as a green zone (low-risk area) by the local authority after three days of PCR testing. Aug. 22 was the last day of the three-day testing cycle, the day we were supposed to leave. However, by noon, the authorities said, because some experts from the State Council came to the city and were concerned about the epidemic situation, they told us to continue waiting. We are really desperate.”
She added that many tourists had been stranded here for 16 days because they inadvertently became tourists stuck in high-risk areas by gathering in one place. It was complicated for them to go home, but for unknown reasons, authorities canceled it. Everyone was disappointed and decided to take to the streets to protest.
The danger in isolation, tourists do not know who to ask for help
Lin said that besides protesting against the authority’s changes, tourists are also concerned about the risk of infection when staying here.
She said: “The announcement made today, can be directly overturned tomorrow, the leadership has been discredited, we have lost confidence in them. The second point is, we don’t want to be here because it’s not safe, there’s no disinfection. When the staff brings the food, it is at risk of infection.”
She explained that a few days ago, there were many local cases, so the authorities sent lunch boxes without lids and put them in plastic bags. In the past few days, there have been new infections practically every day. The infected people all came from this controlled area. She often hears the ambulance at the nearby hotel taking people away.
A more significant potential danger, she said, is that those positive cases are not re-examined but sent straight to a field hospital. As a result, two-thirds of positive patients are misdiagnosed.
Lin said that a pregnant female tourist was infected at the hotel, making another pregnant woman very worried about the safety of her and her child.
She said: “Everybody was a little agitated and they all recorded videos. One mother was very worried, because a pregnant woman next to her was diagnosed positive after 15 days of isolation, so the other mother was extremely agitated, arguing with government officials.”
“After the mother was infected, she had to live in a rather sketchy field hospital. Her husband was especially worried because she was only three months pregnant, there was no way to transfer her to the city hospital so he was also very agitated.”
Lin said that authorities were pressuring tourists to block the news. The city leader called her and said:
“It’s not that we don’t want to let you go; it’s that we can’t chase you away; why? Besides, we are bordered by Yunnan, Sichuan, and Qinghai. We don’t even want to take over you. This is the government’s official statement.
“Who is right, what is the specific reason, whether political, social or economic reasons, please stay here. I don’t dare to speculate, but the current reality is that the government has used all methods to keep tourists staying, and there is no clear policy.”
It’s completely unlike in press conferences. But we can’t let the outside world hear and see our current situation.”
Lin added that she contacted many local authority employees while protesting to go home. They all said they wanted her to understand, wait, and support local policies. Instead, the local authority denied responsibility. No one explained.
However, as a low-caste citizen, she is striving for her rights. She could not understand the local officials as the epidemic prevention policy was absurd. It harms the interests and harms the health and mentality of the people. This lockdown is a form of kidnapping.
Lin believed that the current epidemic prevention and control policy and “respect for the right to live” have been turned upside down.
She said: “I think epidemic prevention is (should) be based on the most fundamental principle of respecting life and the right to live. Unfortunately, life is no longer valued. Due to the epidemic prevention and control policy, many of us have lost our lives. The policy is no longer based on respect for life and human rights.
“So now you ask me to understand and cooperate with your policy again, I can neither understand nor cooperate.”