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Semafor LogoDiego Mendoza
newsEast Asia

A woman in China died by suicide under COVID lockdown

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A woman in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia reportedly killed herself after her local area was locked down, China-focused online outlets Sixth Tone and What's on Weibo reported.

Hers is the latest documented death linked to China's zero-COVID strategy, in which entire communities face restrictions over a relatively small number of positive cases.

Beijing Lockdown
REUTERS/Thomas Peter
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Authorities categorized the woman's apartment building in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, as "high risk" after detecting two COVID-19 cases last month, and placed it under lockdown, according to Sixth Tone.

The outlet reported that the woman's adult daughter called authorities to tell them her mother was having a breakdown about 30 minutes before her mother jumped from the building. The daughter apparently tried leaving the building after realizing her mother had jumped, but was unable to get outside because of a locked entrance, according to local reports and video shared on social media. The daughter reportedly sent WeChat messages to her neighbors and building manager begging for someone to be let outside.

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The local authorities denied that the building entrance had been locked, saying instead it was being guarded by community workers preventing people from entering or leaving.

The suicide is just the latest in several reported deaths in China linked to stringent lockdown measures. China's National Health Commission said over the weekend that — despite rumors to the contrary — it would continue to enforce the zero-COVID strategy across the country.

Last week, the investigative news site Caixin reported that a 3-year-old boy in Lanzhou, northwest China, died of carbon monoxide poisoning because of a delayed emergency response, sparking massive outcry on social media.

The hashtag “Three years of pandemic was his entire life" started trending after one netizen shared a video of what appeared to be the boy receiving CPR while on the back of a truck. Other videos — which were quickly censored on Chinese social media — appeared to show Lanzhou residents taking to the streets and demanding answers from authorities.

Authorities later apologized for the boy's death, saying the local emergency response team would be investigated and punished.

In October, a teenage girl apparently died at a COVID-care center after being ignored by medical workers, according to the BBC. In a video uploaded to Douyin, China's version of TikTok, the girl's father alleged that officials refused to help her while she convulsed in bed.

Radio Free Asia, meanwhile, has reported that as many as a dozen Uygur Muslims died in Xinjiang while facing food shortages during one lockdown in August.

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