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Quarantined Folks In China Gripe And Goof Around On Social Media

They're mad, they're frustrated — and they're finding goofy ways to pass the time.

That's what residents of Wuhan are sharing on social media while they're under lockdown because of the coronavirus outbreak that began in their city.

There's a lot of anger being expressed about an incident on Dec. 31, when Wuhan police detained doctors for "spreading rumors" about cases they had learned about that resembled SARS, the coronavirus that spread in China and throughout the world in 2003.

"No one is allowed to tell the truth," a user who goes by JamesBOYS posted on Weibo, a popular social media site in China.

"I hope the government can give an [explanation] about the eight people who were detained and punish those who should be held accountable," JamesBOYS says.

"Free speech is crucial to everyone's life," 胃肠外科颜值担当 says on Weibo.

Life under quarantine is a major topic. Xi Li, who grew up in Wuhan and returned from London to visit his parents for the Chinese New Year, wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday: "There are people getting infected and worse every second; we are short of medical equipment and personnel."

Social media is being used to post photos of red banners appearing in some areas with slogans addressing the new coronavirus; the China Media Project is highlighting some of the banners. One roughly translates to "A face mask or a breathing tube, make a choice, it's up to you." Another reads: "Earnestly prevent the infection of your home, casting out even your in-laws if they come." The banners were likely posted by villages after receiving notice from higher-level government authorities.

Life under quarantine isn't as bad as most of the media makes it out to be, Li wrote in his Facebook post.

People are keeping themselves busy. Li says he has been volunteering with local medics and helping check out medical equipment.

And the newly homebound are finding ways to keep from getting bored. Those staying indoors in China have invented games of ring toss using brooms and buckets, constructed elaborate sculptures out of nut shells and chat with neighbors across rooftops, as seen on Twitter. Videos also show someone getting ready to start fishing — in a fish tank — and a puppet that pretends to swallow and spit out passing cars on the street below.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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