China Reportedly Bans Use of Word ‘Lockdown’ While Admitting Shanghai Lockdown Continues

A security worker locks a door with a chain in a neighbourhood under a Covid-19 lockdown in the Jing'an district of Shanghai on June 2, 2022. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Hector Retamal / AFP / Getty Images

China’s ruling Communist Party has reportedly ordered state-run media not to use the word “lockdown” to describe the recent easing of Shanghai’s Chinese coronavirus lockdown, the U.K.’s Guardian reported on Thursday, noting that movement restrictions continue to apply to some of Shanghai’s population despite its lauded “lockdown end” on Wednesday.

The Guardian said on June 2 that it had reviewed documents allegedly leaked to the China Digital Times on May 30. The documents — which allegedly contained Communist Party censorship directives issued to Chinese state media — ordered editors not to use the phrase “ending the lockdown” while reporting on the lifting of Shanghai’s lockdown on June 1.

The edict read:

Do not use the phrase “ending the lockdown.” Unlike Wuhan, Shanghai never declared a lockdown, so there is no “ending the lockdown.” All parts of Shanghai underwent static management-style suppression and suspensions, but the city’s core functions kept operating throughout this period. Emphasize that related measures were temporary, conditional, and limited.

The resumption on June 1 will also be conditional: it is by no means the case that every person in every district across the whole city will be able to freely head out at once, nor that this is a uniform relaxation. Reports should not play up “comprehensive relaxation” or “comprehensive [return to] normality.”

Shanghai’s government on Wednesday began easing a 65-day lockdown of the city designed to contain its latest Chinese coronavirus epidemic. The blanket stay-at-home order applied to all of Shanghai’s 25 million-plus residents and lasted from March 28 to June 1. The Guardian reported on June 2 that — despite Shanghai’s self-promoted “lockdown end” on Wednesday — many of the city’s residents remained confined to their homes after the movement restrictions were scheduled to expire.

“On Thursday, a Shanghai-based journalist, Thomas Yau, reported his neighbourhood had already gone back into lockdown because of a single case walking down the street,” the newspaper observed, citing a June 1 Twitter post by the reporter.

Yau’s Twitter page identifies him as a Shanghai-based video producer for the South China Morning Post.

China’s state-run Global Times on June 1 acknowledged that some Shanghai residents remained under lockdown despite most of the city starting to reopen earlier that day.

“While seeing others in the city celebrating the reopening, those still living under control measures expressed patience,” the Communist Party-run publication wrote.

“A resident surnamed Wang in a controlled community in Jing’an district told the Global Times that the community had informed them that they had to continue to abide by management rules,” the newspaper revealed.

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