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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
January 28, 2023, 10:59:38 pm
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Greetings from locked-down China !

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Author Topic: Greetings from locked-down China !  (Read 297 times)
Peter Bentley 彭达理
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« on: February 08, 2020, 07:51:55 pm »

Hello  All,

My  apologies  for  "disappearing"  from the  Forum for  several  months.  I was  heavily  involved  in the  anti-government   riot  crisis of   2019 (on the  side  of the government   and thus  ANTI-  rioters  I hasten to  add!) I was  accidentally  interviewed  by  AP  on July 2   the  morning  after the  break-in to  our  Legco  building  and  somehow  that  video  went  viral  in China  (over 250 million  views), which  inevitably  went  on to  further  interviews.  You can  find  some of these  on  English  YT ,  but most of the  interviews   went  out  on the Chinese  social media  channels  which you  can  read nor even access   unless  you  can  read  Chinese.

But that's  not my  story here.

 I want to tell  you  is  about something extraordinary that  that  I have  not  really seen anywhere accurately   reported  (if   even  reported   at all)  in Western media  - and  certainly  not   in the  HK  western press  like the  SCMP.

(There  are few  vloggers on YT by  westerners  who  are  either  in China  or  who have  worked  in China and now  gone  back to the  West  so they  "think they know  all about  China"  (ha ha !) .  Some  are  good   and  reasonably accurate,  some  are  bad    and  some  a  just  plain  awful.  Among the   most  awful  are  two prolific vloggers : laowhy86 and  serpentza   whose  stuff  is  pure   garbage feeding off the   virus  crisis  +  Trump -led  anti-China  hatred   just to make  money from  their  Patreon sponsors.   Among the  best  is a  guy  named  Nathan  Rich.  But  take them all  with a  pinch of  salt )

Here  is  the  real  story  and  it is  extraordinary , in a good  sense.

My wife and  I came back for Chinese  New  Year  (CNY) to her home town near  Wenzhou city,  just a few miles  south  of  Wenzhou's  second  biggest  city : Yueqing.  That  was  on  20 Feb  and even though our  friends  came over  for  meals at  home in the days  before  CNY   it seemed  by  general mutual  consent  that  everyone we knew had decided to  cancel all  CNY  celebrations in restaurants.

A lot of  Wenzhou  people  do business in Wuhan, especially  Yueqing people, and  of course they had all come  back for  CNY bringing the  virus with them. We  heard  stories on the grapevine  that they had already been put  in  14 day  police-monitored home quarantine along  with all  family members  and anyone else they  had met  after  coming  back to Wenzhou.  Those that broke  quarantine  were  put  in prison for a  week and then another 14 day  home  quarantine.

Remember that  this  was  several  days  before  CNY -  thus around  20 - 25  January !  We all  heard that  Wuhan  had been  "locked  down"  but that  was  all  that was  reported in the   WW news  at that  time.

During  that week  before  CNY  I went  out  for  exercise on my bike  and all the main roads were  open,  but  I noticed that  almost every  small side-street  had started to  self-barricade  itself  in  with local  "vigilante"  guards  not allowing  anyone  in except  locals (thus the  children  could  safely  go out and  play  in the  streets).   The same happened  to the apartment  block  where we  live :  no-one was allowed  in except  residents.

This  continued until  about  CNY  day  2....3   (27   -  28 Feb)  -  a  kind  of  voluntary  home/ street  quarantine /  isolation   by  everyone,  but no  official  rules. Everyone was wearing  face masks and  there  was  little traffic  on the  roads.

Then  on about 30 Feb  I went  out  cycling  on one  of my  usual   routes out of  town  and  ran into a  police  road  block.  I was  told that  if  I  crossed the  block  I  would  not be allowed  back into  our  home town so I turned  round and  tried a  few side  roads  out  of  town,  some of  which  were  still  open ,  but  some were blocked  by village  local barricades  thus  preventing  village  through  traffic  without the  need  for   official police  intervention.

We  were  booked to  fly back to  HK  on Sat  8  Feb on   CX/KA (the  only  airline that  flies  direct to  Wenzhou  from HK) . I had a  nasty feeling  that  things  would  quickly  change  for  the  worse, because  although  at that  time the  number  of  infections  in China was  only  about  10,000 (nearly  all in Wuhan)   the  HK  "experts"  estimated the  real number  was  closer to  50,000  in China  due to  the  fact that  many of those  with the  corona  virus  show  only very mild  symptoms - no  worse than a common cold  if at all  -  and the  incubation  period is  about  5-10 days during which time  one is  nonetheless  infectious.

 I tried to  re-book our  flights on Sat 1  Feb but there  were no   free  seats, then  on Sunday 2  Feb  CX/KA  suddenly cancelled ALL flights  from Wenzhou  (and also many other  Chinese  cities)   to  HK  indefinitely and refused to  accept new  reservations  until  mid-March  at earliest !  So much  for  our  return  flight to  HK ! 

But  then on Sun 2  Feb  something  even  more extraordinary  happened:  the   whole  of  Wenzhou,  all  7  million  people, were  put on total lock-down  for  at least  14  days.  The  whole of  our  town  was  broken up  into  sections  of  about  one  square  mile  with  police  barricades across  all roads , making  sure that  every  section  had a  supermarket and  even a  fresh  vegetable  market .  So even  if  our  return flight  on  8 Feb  had not been cancelled  it would  have been  impossible to  drive to the  airport.

From what we  hear, this  is not  just in Wenzhou and  Yueqing  - it's the same   for the   whole  of  Zhejiang Province  with  57 million  people   if  not   indeed  for  almost the  whole  of  China .  THE  WHOLE  COUNTRY  IS  ON TOTAL  LOCKDOWN !  All  one  billion  people !

Everyone  is taking  it  very quietly and calmly.  No panic buying  as  in HK.  The  supermarkets  are  full of  food.  The  only unnerving  thing  is the  total  silence  outside  because  no-one  goes  out  except  to  buy food.

This of course means  that  all factories  are also closed  because  no-one can go to work.

Today the  number of  cases  in China  has  risen to 37,000,  the great  majority  of which  are  of  course  in Hubei  (27,000) with  almost  800  deaths and 1,400  recoveries  there .  Next  comes  Guangdong  with 1095  cases (but  so far  only  one  death !?)  then comes  Zhejiang  with 1048  cases  (and  so far  NO deaths !?).  Of  the  Zhejiang  cases  almost  half  are  in Wenzhou -  almost 500,  about 300 of which are  just up the  road  from us  in Yueqing  city.  (There's   several  websites  which  give the   very latest  numbers with reasonable  accuracy , one is the  John Hopkins  University  site,  another  is

So while  Hong Kong  people  are  going  crazy  with their 26  infections  (most  of  which  are  people  who have recently returned  from  Wuhan) Wenzhou  people  are  taking  it all in their  stride and  doing  the  sensible  thing. No  long  queues  for  face masks - in fact no  queues  at  all -  even though  there  is of course a  general  shortage  of  masks, so those  with  extra  masks  are  sharing them  with friends.

This  must  surely  be  the   biggest  country-wide  effort  in the  history of the  world  to contain a  virus, and while  some - if  not  many  -  people  in the  West   like to  criticize the  CCP   one  must  surely admit that  they can do  things  for good  that   could never be done  in the "free"  West.

(Mind you - with what's  going  on  with  Trump these  days  I'm not  sure   that the  West  - or at least not  the  USA -   is  "free"  in any  honest and moral sense any longer !)

To put things  in perspective, the 2009  H1N1  bird flu  virus apparently killed between  250,000 - 500,000  people  WW  (the  best estimate  is  280,000)  but  that passed with  ne'er a  moment's  panic (at least  not in HK nor  China)  and even  during the  height  of  SARS  I traveled  freely  in China  on business.

I have  no idea  when or how we  will get back to  HK,  where  we  are faced with another  14  days  home  quarantine  due to a   new  law  instituted  last  Friday  midnight which affects   everyone  returning to  HK from the  Mainland, whether  visitors  or  HK residents.   I don't even know  if the   lock-down in China  will  last  only  14  days :  there  are  rumors  it may be  extended to  20  days.

But certainly China  is doing  its  very utmost to contain the  virus, both  for its own people's good and  also for the  good of the people of the whole world,  because   if this  virus  takes hold  in  any  other  country  there's  no possible  way  any other  country  could  ever  take  strong enough  measures to  control a  run-away  local  infection  epidemic.

Just 100  years  ago  Spanish  flu killed  75  million  people.

I have been tracking the  infections and deaths  numbers  closely   (anyway they are tracked  graphically  on the  websites  I mentioned  above)  and there  is a  definite  slow-down  in the  rate of new  infections per  day  in China.  It has  come  down from  over  20%  increase per day  to  about  10%   and most  are  still  in Hubei.  In  Guangdong and  Zhejiang  the rate  is already  much lower.

I grant  you  that  some of the  death  figures maybe  not accurately   recorded  or even  deliberately   fudged  (really -  zero  deaths  in  the   whole  Zheijiang  with  57 million  people? )   but the  fudging  is  surely  at most a few tens or  possibly  a hundred in total , certainly  not  thousands.

My friends  in HK  advise me to  sit  tight  in China  until   the  panic  in HK  burns  itself  out and I  think they  are  right !

Perhaps  Geoff  or  Samson can give  some  on-the-ground  reports  on  what it's like  in HK  these  days.  

Well, sorry  for the  long  rant and  blurb  but  there's  not  much  else to  do  these  days  while  sat  in China! 

Thank goodness for  Kindle, YT   and  our  magic  "Unblock TV"  box  which gives  us   free access to  about  800  TV   channels   WW  plus all the latest  movies !  



PS: PS: It's  well  worth  your  while to  watch this  YT  video.


« Last Edit: February 08, 2020, 09:07:15 pm by Peter Bentley 彭达理 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2020, 10:21:18 pm »


Thanks for the view on the situation from your perspective in a lockdown.  The conversation going around the US is whether we would have the capacity to quickly mobilize to contain outbreaks in the States if and/or when it occurs.  Even though China apparently downplayed the initial reports of the outbreak it is interesting to see how they are responding now.  Sorry to hear how this has affected the Chinese New Year.  I hope this is not a bad omen for the rest of 2020. 

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Charll K Stoneman, Eureka, California USA, Collector Since 1979.

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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2020, 01:45:37 am »

Thank you for taking the time to share with us Peter..

With the current Trump administration here in the US, they neither have had or currently have any interest in preparation of this or any other outbreak.  There have been both personnel and budget cuts made by the Trump administration over the past three years.

There is no one in the White House tasked specifically to oversee a coordinated government-wide response in the event of a pandemic, since the post of senior director for global health security and biothreats on the national security council (NSC) was eliminated last May. Funding has also been cut drastically to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In its 2020 budget the Trump administration proposed a further 10% cut in CDC funding, equivalent to $750m. It zeroed out funding for epidemiology and laboratory capacity at state and local levels.

Funding will also dry up this year for a tiered epidemic response within the US. The system was set up in the aftermath of the Ebola scare, and involved identifying patients infected by “special pathogens” in frontline hospitals and their transfer up a chain of specially equipped regional hospitals where they could be safely treated.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2020, 01:51:30 am by George » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2020, 02:51:53 am »

Dear Peter

Thanks for your sharing. Trust that your and your family are in good state currently. I presume you are still in Wenzhou waiting for the green light to leave for HK ?

In Singapore, there has been some new confirmed case of COVID-19, a number of which are related to two congregations of local church. My wife and I stay home most of the time except when we need to top up our provisions.

Take care.

Regards, Inn Bok
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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2020, 05:20:41 am »

     I wish you and your family well, and we in Israel are praying for G-D to send healing to all who are sick with Wuhan Coronavirus [COVID-19],
and that it will not get as threatening to world civilization as the Fake Media are portraying it.

      With the exception of the gratuitous anti-Trump BS, all you wrote was of great interest, and I watched the video you attached.
Thank you for that, as well.
Best Wishes to you and all affected by this present, but hopefully, quickly passing, trial.
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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