Authorities have stolen and wasted food donated to a Chinese city struggling under the pressure of a Coronavirus lockdown in China’s Hubei Province, The Epoch Times reported Tuesday.
Thousands of tons of food were reportedly donated to Ezhou City by Guizhou Province after many households began to experience food shortages following weeks of lockdown in a bid to contain the coronavirus.
Yet according to posts across Chinese social media, which the Epoch Times claims to have read, authorities stole or simply left to rot more than 1,000 tons of vegetables in warehouses. Some of the food that did end up in local markets was also sold to the public at excessively high prices.
Police are believed to be behind the misappropriation, after a family member of an employee of the Phoenix Police Station in Echeng District uploaded a video to WeChat last week showing donations her family had received from the police station, including multiple boxes of fruits, fresh vegetables, and eggs. Noting that the quantity was “more than they can eat,” she took three boxes of food to her parents’ house.
Another WeChat User married to a police official also posted the list of supplies gifted to her family, including six barrels of oil, multiple bags of vegetables, four bags of rice, and hundreds of face masks. “Blame your husband for not being an official!” she captioned the post, apparently addressing those complaining that they did not receive supplies.
Photos across social media also reportedly showed food rotting in warehouses in warehouse and police transporting dozens of boxes of vegetables into their vehicles. Many residents used the platform to express their disgust, with the Times translating some of the most damning:
“I live in Ezhou. Why didn’t I see my share of vegetables from the donation? It turns out, here they are! My family spends nearly 200-300 yuan ($28.5-$42.7) a day to buy vegetables now.”
“I live in the urban area of Ezhou. There are no free vegetables. The vegetable bag priced at 50 yuan ($7.10) only has a small amount. No fruits for sale in grocery stores at all.”
“I know that Ezhou has received the materials donated by Guizhou, but our community did not even see a vegetable leaf.”
“Two of my best friends are both from Ezhou. They can’t buy any food at all and have been eating egg noodles for 20 days.”
“I’m from Ezhou. I haven’t had any vegetables for 6 days.”
Other individuals left furious by such flagrant corruption were residents of Guizhou province who generously donated their supplies:
“We are so poor. Many impoverished counties have been squeezed to make donations. Do they have any conscience?”
“So infuriating! Hezhang is designated as a state-level poverty-stricken county. We donated so much, yet the supplies were not distributed into the hands of citizens!”
Chinese social media is heavily censored and reports indicate that China has hired hundreds of new monitors to delete embarrassing material for the Communist Party from the internet. The Epoch Times did not offer an explanation for why these posts still seemed to be up.
This month, similar criminality occurred in Hong Kong, where an armed gang held up a truck before stealing around $130 worth of toilet paper, a commodity in desperately short supply because of panic around the epidemic.