Many areas in Xinjiang have been locked down for a month to contain a COVID-19 outbreak. This has caused food and medicine shortages. The local government was forced to apologize.

According to China’s social media, reports of shortages and tough conditions in Yili continue to spread.

Suppliers jacked up food prices in some areas of Xinjiang. Many residents complained about the quality of the food provided by residential committees.

One resident said that he received food every five days but each package had little nutritional value—no fruit, vegetables, or meat. Azad, a Yining resident, had nothing but instant noodles for two weeks.

Several women said that they had been unable to obtain sanitary pads, making life very difficult.

Liu Qinghua, deputy governor of the affected area, said that the lockdown had prevented some from accessing hospital treatment and that there had been problems distributing food.

Liu added that the local government apologized deeply for the impact and inconvenience of COVID control measures on people’s lives. Officials vowed to rectify the situation.

Xinjiang is home to several ethnic groups, including the Uyghur minority. The Chinese Communist Party tightly controls the area though it has been accused of a raft of human rights abuses. The authorities used the security apparatus to quell disagreements against COVID restrictions.

Yining City in Yili has been locked down since at least August 11. Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital, also remains locked down, along with other areas.

The lockdowns have become more intense in China. Food shortages and medical care problems were widespread during Shanghai’s two-month lockdown.

Likewise, in Guiyang, a city of 6 million people, officials said that they’d seen issues with food and other supplies.

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