Anger at China’s Covid-19 Response Smolders in Wuhan

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Anger at China’s Covid-19 Response Smolders in Wuhan

WUHAN, China—In the original center of the coronavirus pandemic, there is a monument to China’s fight against Covid-19.

The former site of an emergency field hospital that treated hundreds of patients at the peak of the outbreak now hosts an exhibition on Wuhan’s “decisive victory in the battle” against the viral enemy.

A year after the virus broke out here, though, there is a widespread feeling that the triumphalism is misplaced. For some in Wuhan, there is a sense that it is too soon to declare victory and that the tone is inappropriate. For others, particularly those who lost loved ones at the height of the chaos, there is anger at the government for not acting more quickly and openly.

When Vice Premier Sun Chunlan visited during the city’s quarantine last March to show the situation was under control, she was heckled. Some residents shouted “It’s all fake!” from their apartment windows. Anger still simmers to the point that some are willing to openly criticize the government when such candor is rare, and potentially dangerous.

“We are very angry,” said Zhang Hong, a resident who lost her father to Covid-19 in February. “We used to have a lot of faith in the government—we assumed they’d handle matters like this properly and not put us in danger.” Instead, officials initially tried to cover up the outbreak rather than confront it, she said. “Now we’re much more skeptical when it comes to trusting the government.”

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