Chinese woman sealed in during lockdown dies after pleas ignored

Chinese woman sealed in during lockdown dies after pleas ignored
Bryan Ke
November 7, 2022
A woman reportedly jumped to her death inside a community complex in Hohhot, the capital of northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, last week as local authorities failed to respond to her family’s calls amid China’s strict zero-COVID lockdown.
In a statement on Sunday, the Hohhot government confirmed that a woman died on Friday inside the community complex that has been sealed under a snap lockdown since Oct. 26 after two people tested positive for COVID-19.
An investigation revealed that property management and community staff were slow to respond, did not respond properly, and lacked sensitivity to emergencies,” the statement read, according to South China Morning Post. “[The incident] exposed the lag in residential property services and the shortcomings of community work, and also reflected the imperfection of the 120 emergency dispatch mechanism.”
The 55-year-old woman, Mrs. Wang, had reportedly been suffering from an anxiety disorder and had been taking prescription drugs since 2019. She started showing signs of suicidal tendencies and required immediate medical attention moments before her death, according to reports. Despite her family’s efforts to alert the authorities, the local medical emergency team still failed to respond in time.
According to the timeline of the event released by Hohhot’s Xincheng District authorities, the incident started at around 10 a.m. when Wang’s daughter contacted the property manager, only identified as Zhang X., about her mother’s mental breakdown.
She called Zhang again seven hours later to inform them that her mother’s condition had worsened and asked if they could call an ambulance. Instead of helping the family, Zhang allegedly told the woman, “Call them yourself, I’m busy.”
Wang’s eldest daughter, a 35-year-old who lives in Hainan, tried contacting the emergency hotline, but the dispatcher allegedly put the case on hold as they deemed it was a non-emergency call.
Minutes after that, Wang’s eldest daughter called for an ambulance and informed property management to be prepared to meet the ambulance staff at the community gate, which had reportedly been welded shut. Zhang relayed the message to a staff member in charge, but the person allegedly failed to forward the details to the relevant workers in the building.
No one from the property management staff team came to Wang’s unit to check on the family amid what was happening, the timeline noted.
Wang, who lived with her 29-year-old daughter at Unit 2 of the Xingguang A9 community in the Xincheng District of Hohhot, reportedly jumped to her death from her 12th-floor bedroom window at around 6 p.m. as her daughter went to the living room to charge her phone.
Residents immediately reported the incident to the emergency hotline after seeing Wang jump from her bedroom window. Emergency responders reportedly arrived minutes later, finding Wang’s daughter sitting beside her deceased mother’s body on the ground.
Reports revealed that during the critical stage before Wang’s death, her daughter tried to alert the authorities by banging the barrier that prevented residents from leaving the community building. Videos and audio of what happened inside the compound were quickly shared online in China.
Following the incident, Hohhot’s local epidemic prevention authorities released an official statement which said that residents should not be locked inside their buildings and that community gates should never be locked in cases of emergencies.
The woman’s death came just days after a 3-year-old boy Wenxuan from the city of Lanzhou in China’s Gansu province died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Tuo Shilei, Wenxuan’s father, blamed China’s strict zero-COVID policy for the delay in his son’s life-saving treatment.
If you or anyone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to Starting on July 16, those in the United States can be routed to The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling the three-digit code 988.
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