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Abandoned babies at an orphanage in Xi'an, China
Abandoned babies at an orphanage in Xi'an, China
Wang Jing

GUANGZHOU — It has been three days since Zheng Yuling gave birth. Her breasts are as hard as stone and she is in great pain. She wishes she could breastfeed her baby. But the child is no longer there. And her husband, Chen Dafu, was arrested the day before for the crime of abandoning the newborn.

Zheng's was the first baby to die at the Guangzhou "Baby Safety Island," an experimental service provided by the municipality consisting of a baby hatch operated by an orphanage called the Guangzhou Social Welfare Institute. The experiment proved to be short lived. The orphanage abandoned the initiative after receiving 262 babies, all with serious health problems, in the span of just 48 days. "The workload is excessive to the extreme. We can't possibly continue," the Social Welfare Institute stated.

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Coronavirus

In Shanghai, A Brewing Expat Exodus As COVID Crackdown Shows "Real" China

Not only strict rules of freedom of movement as part of Zero-COVID policy but also an increase in censorship has raised many questions for the expat population in the megacity of 26 million that had long enjoyed a kind of special status in China as a place of freedom and openness. A recent survey of foreigners in the Chinese megacity found that 48% of respondents said they would leave Shanghai within the next year.

People walk in Tianzifang, located in Huangpu District, a well-known tourist attraction in Shanghai.

Lili Bai

SHANGHAI — On the seventh day of the lockdown, Félix, a French expat who has worked in Shanghai for four years, texted his boss: I want to "run,' mais je sais pas quand (but I don’t know when). A minute later, he received a reply: moi aussi (me too).

Félix had recently learned the new Mandarin word 润 (run) from social network postings of his local friends. Because its pinyin “rùn” is the same as the English word “run,” Chinese youth had begun to use it to express their wish to escape reality, either to “be freed from mundane life”, or to “run toward your future.”

For foreigners like Félix, by associating the expression “run” with the feeling of the current lockdown in Shanghai, “everything makes sense.” Félix recalled how at the end of March, the government denied rumors of an impending lockdown: “My Chinese colleagues all said, Shanghai is China’s top city, there would be no lockdown no matter what.”

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