Adding new graves in every village, endless sorrow and joy: the “severe epidemic winter” experienced by the elderly in rural China

In International
February 01, 2023
Adding new graves in every village, endless sorrow and joy: the "severe epidemic winter" experienced by the elderly in rural China

At the end of the Spring Festival holiday and the resumption of work in various parts of China, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated on Monday (January 30) that the current round of the new crown epidemic is coming to an end. However, Voice of America learned through interviews that many remote areas are seriously short of medical care, and village cadres are dereliction of duty, resulting in a sharp increase in the death of rural elderly. In the past, before the Spring Festival, people were happy and busy with New Year’s goods, but now “the big horns on the street are ringing from morning till night.”

On January 30, the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council of China held a press conference on the prevention and control of the epidemic during the Spring Festival. Mao Dezhi, deputy director of the Rural Cooperation Economic Guidance Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China, said that the epidemic situation in rural areas was generally stable during the Spring Festival, and there was no increase in the epidemic situation.On the same day, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated on its website that based on various monitoring data, the current round of the epidemic in China will reach its peak in late December 2022, and then continue to decline.

On the 28th, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that there were only 6,364 deaths related to the new coronavirus infection in hospitals in China from January 20 to 26. However, many patients in remote villages cannot be squeezed into the hospital, and cannot be counted into the death toll after dying at home.

Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized on the 18th that rural medical conditions are relatively weak, and prevention and control are difficult and heavy tasks. “What I am most worried about is the rural areas and the vast number of farmers’ friends.” “Whether a society is happy or not, it is very important to see whether the elderly are happy or not.” Theprovinces and cities followed up and issued drafts calling for the implementation of rural epidemic prevention efforts, but they could not keep up with the epidemic The speed at which the old man’s life was taken away.

Liu Shihui, a human rights lawyer who grew up in Xishan Village, Karaqin Banner, Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia, is currently living in the United States. On the 23rd, when he paid a New Year greeting to his Chinese family, he learned about the dire situation in the neighboring villages. In Zhumeiqin Village, more than 20 people died, mainly elderly people. I was shocked when I heard it. In previous winters, one or two people died, and three to five people died. This epidemic has killed more than 20 people in a month. Personally, quite amazing.”

Rural New Year under the shadow of death: There are more white couplets than red couplets

Jie Lijian, a human rights activist from rural Shandong who is currently residing in the United States, also told VOA that there are about 1,000 people in his hometown Gaozhaizi Village, Zhaozhaizi Town, Gaotang County, Liaocheng City. During the Spring Festival, he contacted his family and learned that At least 20 elderly people have died from the disease. According to Shandong custom, more than 100 people in the family will kowtow to the elderly in groups on the first day of the Lunar New Year.

A relative in his 60s died in early January after the whole family was infected. “He had pneumonia, coughed all the time, and his whole body was very hot. He left in the middle of the night. The family was afraid that he would be cold and they would burn the kang for him. It was all wet. I went to the hospital at the end of last month, and I went there within a week after I got home.”

At that time, the county hospital refused to treat him because there were no wards and doctors, so he suggested going home to recuperate. “Let’s prepare (funerally), I don’t have the medicine you want, I don’t have an oxygen inhaler, I don’t have an oxygen bottle, and my own parents can’t provide it.” The doctor told the family.

In Gaozhaizi Village, Jie Lijian revealed that in the past before the Spring Festival, the common people were busy buying new year’s goods happily. This year, the mourning and music from the loudspeakers on the street kept ringing from morning to night, and the air was filled with the smell of burnt paper money. Worried about not being able to buy white cloth and yellow paper for funerals, the queue at the township household registration office was 40 to 50 meters away.

“The old man left. The villagers in the jurisdiction area of ​​the town took the original account and canceled the account. They didn’t smile. There was an accident at home. They were wearing black clothes and the filial badge on their arm hadn’t been taken off yet. From the front to the new year. Almost all the front streets and back streets are pasted with white couplets. There are more white couplets than red couplets. How can there be any New Year atmosphere? The mood is always depressed and painful.”

In addition to the grief, the financial burden on farmers seeking medical treatment and handling funeral affairs is also very high. Jie Lijian pointed out that the New Rural Cooperative Medical System (New Rural Cooperative Medical Care) does not reimburse cold and fever medicines. The crematorium pays an extra 40,000 to 50,000 yuan before being allowed to be buried. The cost of the pit has doubled or tripled at once.

“Right now the crematoriums are not ranked high, some are directly buried, and many are made of paper coffins and simple coffins. It has to be arranged for the judiciary in charge of the funeral industry chain and the police station to pay tribute, otherwise the (corpse) will really be dug up, saying If you break the law, that is the biggest unfilial act. Farming is slack now, but the fields are full of people. Spare labor from other villages comes to dig graves. It used to be one or two hundred yuan, but now it is four to five hundred.” He said .

Adding new graves in every village, endless sorrow and joy: the "severe epidemic winter" experienced by the elderly in rural China

Adding new graves in every village, endless sorrow and joy: the “severe epidemic winter” experienced by the elderly in rural China

Village doctors who were caught off guard, village cadres who did not

show up. In his speech on the 18th, Xi Jinping called for persistence in the fight against poverty.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China claimed on January 19 that all localities will make overall arrangements for township cadres, cadres of the “two committees” of the village, the first secretary in the village, working members, party members, village doctors and other forces to ensure that households and village doctors are organized and mobilized. A total of 19.01 million people were mobilized across the country. Baobao contacted key personnel, and the coverage rate reached 99.73%.

The government’s attention to the rural epidemic has been meager and slow. Du Jinlian, an old man in Wentong Village, Jia County, Yulin City, Shaanxi Province, who has just survived the epidemic, told VOA that from late November to early December, most of the second team of the village’s production team had sunburn, and the village had already died last month. six old people.”No one was in charge, and the village party secretary also knew that the condition was serious, but no one was in charge. (At that time) I didn’t want to eat anything, felt nauseous, couldn’t vomit, and had a headache for more than ten days.” She said.

Wang Ming (pseudonym), a resident of Sixiatou Village, Yanshan Street, Junxian County, Henan Province, who did not want to be named for security reasons, told VOA that three elderly people died in a village of more than 700 people, and more than 20 people died in a village to the east. indivual.

“I attended four funerals of relatives and friends, all of whom died over the age of 65. There was a health center in one administrative village (three natural villages). At that time, many people went there for infusion and medicine after they became positive. , anti-inflammatory drugs. No more than 2,000 people, just one doctor.” The first-tier big cities were struggling to face the first wave of infection peaks, but the rural areas were “naked test” of the new crown.

In addition, the zero-clearing movement has also widened the gap in the rural health system. During the three-year lockdown period, antipyretics, cough medicines, antibiotics, and antiviral drugs were strictly controlled, and rural grassroots stocks were seriously insufficient.In Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan, a key area for poverty alleviation that Xi Jinping visited and cared about, the epidemic whizzed by in silence. Some elderly Yi people do not understand what the new crown is, even though it is called a “cold”.

A doctor at the Xide County People’s Hospital told VOA that starting around January 10, more than 150 patients underwent CT scans every day. It lasted for about three days, and even the surgical beds were fully occupied. Cheng medical staff were also recruited, and a nursing home even sent 30 to 40 infected elderly people.

“Many rural medicines do not have fever clinics. The (government) has designated (locations) for patients with ten major symptoms. In the past, rural hospitals still had cold and fever medicines. After this wave of infection control, basically all of them were brought. It works…Before, pharmaceutical companies could purchase at will, but after the liberalization, everyone is hoarding and rushing to buy medicines. There is no way if they can’t buy them. These medicines must be purchased in a centralized way.” He said.

In rural Shandong, Jie Lijian said that pharmacies could not even buy licorice tablets, cough syrup, ibuprofen, Tylenol, penicillin, and Sanjiu Ganmaoling granules. “Some veterinary clinics have veterinary medicines for cows, pigs and donkeys who have a high fever (for use), and some people are buying them. Some people use them as cooling medicines for injections.”

Wang Ming (pseudonym) also prepared some artemisinin for himself. And mainly ivermectin for veterinary deworming. He recalled that the most ironic thing is that in the past three years, the village cadres brutally closed the village, blocked the intersection, announced the quarantine and nucleic acid test, and the loudspeaker kept promoting the epidemic prevention policy 24 hours a day, thinking they were revolutionary activists. But after the clearing was released, these people almost disappeared.

“Suddenly there are no village cadres, no government agencies. They used to wear red armbands, and there are five people and six people. (Now) there is no loudspeaker, and no one from the government talks about the epidemic and the virus. ”

Adding new graves in every village, endless sorrow and joy: the "severe epidemic winter" experienced by the elderly in rural China

Adding new graves in every village, endless sorrow and joy: the “severe epidemic winter” experienced by the elderly in rural China

Officials do not save the people to save themselves, but feel restless at night that “life is more precious than gold.”

In the lush fields of Beishan Township, Xide County, the villagers are working as usual after the end of the Yi nationality in late December. Many households raise one or two pigs, several A cow and a dozen sheep make a living from farming. Luo Wenhua, a supporting teacher, has dedicated more than 30 years here. In this cold winter, the elderly in the mountains have a particularly difficult life.

He said that after the merger of Zidu Village and Wawu Village last year, the total population was more than 1,000, among which there were more than 60 people over the age of 60. Most of the old people were positive before January 8, and only 12 people were not infected, at least 6 people. die. “At the beginning of the first wave, medicines were needed most.”

“There is no nucleic acid test, no antigen test, and I don’t know if it is positive. I think (the village) is basically positive… It is too far from the city, if there is a positive Sudden disease is too far to go to the hospital, and many of them don’t have a car, so it takes three or four hours to go back and forth.”

In the past month, Luo Wenhua and other volunteers used an antigen raised for the Liangshan drug donation activity, the Indian version of Merck, The Chinese version of Pfizer’s new crown medicine, oximeter, mercury thermometer, and portable oxygen cylinders were delivered to every household, and the villagers were taught how to use them. Many elderly people recovered after taking the medicine.

The founder of the event, Christian Zhu Bin, recorded in his WeChat circle of friends that as long as the high-risk elderly in the rural areas of Daliang Mountain take anti-coronavirus drugs (even if it is the Indian version of Merck), fewer people will die—” Daliang Mountain in Sichuan——a forgotten place in the tragic epidemic”, “Uneasy at night, but life is more precious than gold”,

another “Fever Relief Action for Rural Elderly” initiated by artists Nut Brothers, Zheng Hongbin and others, as of January 10 It has donated more than 300,000 antipyretics every day, helping nearly 90,000 rural elderly in Shaanxi, Shanxi, Anhui, Guangxi and other places.

If there are not enough dead people, you have to keep your mouth shut. “Returning Home Notes” conveys a micro-history

. “Xi Jinping and the followers below know, how can they not know about this miserable situation? Pretending not to know, it’s too thick-skinned, what he is most sorry for is this big wave So many people died in the plague.” Liu Shihui, who has lived in the rural areas of Inner Mongolia for 35 years, defends the injustice of the farmers. They grow food when they are busy, and go out to work and build cities when they are not. “China’s pillar industry is real estate, and these people shed blood and sweat giving.”

“It was peasants who died in the Great Famine, and the Communist Party relied on these people to conquer the world. They went to the cities and became officials and left these people behind. Beijing and Shanghai can’t be taken care of, and the countryside is simply out of his sight.” He said. Say.

Adding new graves in every village, endless sorrow and joy: the "severe epidemic winter" experienced by the elderly in rural China

Adding new graves in every village, endless sorrow and joy: the “severe epidemic winter” experienced by the elderly in rural China

Just like the rural elderly who died in the famine more than 60 years ago, the number of lives lost by this wave of epidemics will become a mystery of history.

“Common people really dare not say, he doesn’t know where the big hands behind him are coming to grab you, where are those eyes staring at you, that pervasive sense of fear.” In Jie Lijian’s hometown, there is an entertainment anchor going to the countryside to live broadcast The funeral was also taken away for interrogation.

Lu Dewen, a researcher at the China Rural Governance Research Center of Wuhan University, recorded on Weibo what he saw when he returned to his hometown. According to the statistics of the mourners in the village, more than 200 of the more than 10,000 people died of the new crown. In the busiest week, Taoist priests were too busy to keep up, and Lisheng also worked as a Taoist priest. My uncle was a Lisheng, and he never had a rest for seven days and seven nights.”People in the village accept the reality and are relatively calm. This experience, like the historical events more than 60 years ago, may become a micro-history passed down by word of mouth among the

people.” Liu Liangcheng, a Xinjiang writer who wrote “A Village of One Person”, avoided talking about it. Death minefield, but he wrote that after the sound of firecrackers, his village was even more silent, like sleepy old people, these last farmers in China have suffered all their lives, and they are all old – they once fed us , The public grain that was handed over to the country for free in the past, and the large-scale construction projects that were participated in for free are all social security paid to the country in the future. These overworked and ill old farmers wonder whether they can wait for the expected happy year.

This Spring Festival, Jie Lijian had no joy at all. He said that many deceased old people in the village had watched him grow up. Uncomfortable. Let it go and let you fend for yourself, behind it is a serious administrative failure of the government.” “I think it’s intentional. The aging of China is very serious, and many people dare not have children. Is it going to abandon the burden of aging?

” , without asking. Twitter netizen “Great Wind Like a Knife” is holding a family funeral. He angrily mentioned a poem that resonated with countless people: “All the actors in the hall are wearing brocade robes, and half of the country is covered with smoke. The blood of a thousand families is dancing, and a few sketches of ten thousand families’ ointment, When the people cry, the heavens cry, and the singing is loud and the crying is loud. The pink, the ink, and the rouge are competing for favor, singing tonight shamelessly.”

“(The Communist Party) has never cherished the lives of ordinary people. Anyway, I have a gun and I am not afraid of your rebellion. Killing and The sense of red and blood is what the Communist Party is best at and cares about the most, because it can scare you and guarantee the continuation of power.” Jie Lijian lamented.

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