“Voices of June” continues CDT’s monthly “Voices of …” collection of viral audio-visual content from pandemic lockdowns in Shanghai and other Chinese cities. Inspired by the original audio-visual compilation “Voices of April,” which was the target of intense government and platform censorship, the series seeks to circumvent censorship by amplifying the voices of Chinese citizens under various forms of lockdown and quarantine. CDT will continue to compile, translate, and publish these videos for as long as Chinese government censors seek to silence them.
“Voices of June” begins with the anticipated re-opening of Shanghai, and continues with footage of a number of individual and collective protests stemming from frustration with continued arbitrary and heavy-handed neighborhood lockdowns. The video also highlights major news events from the month of June, such as the beating of four women at a hotpot restaurant in Tangshan, Hebei province, and the stepped-up patrols and performative policing that followed; the abuse of “red health codes” to thwart depositors of troubled banks in Zhengzhou, Henan province; and the plainclothes police crackdown on peaceful protests by those depositors. “Voices of June” also features footage about the mortgage boycott by homeowners unhappy with stalled real-estate projects, and about e-commerce livestreamer Li Jiaqi, whose livestream was banned after he hawked a “tank-shaped” ice-cream cake on the eve of the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre. The video concludes with recent pronouncements by Xi Jinping, follow-ups on the Tangshan and Zhengzhou cases, and the now-censored viral tune “Don’t Drink the Celebratory Toast,” which challenges triumphalist official narratives about the pandemic.