Recently, officials in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China, ordered locked-down food service shops to install electronic surveillance robots upon reopening. Because of the Chengdu lockdown, the food service industry is in a state of ruin. The installation of electronic robots was another wave of exploitation by the communist regime.

The social media account “Legal V Liu Jie,” which has more than three million followers, sent a notice on September 20. It said that community officials in Chengdu ordered food service shops to install electronic surveillance robots. This device is used to identify people entering the store, to check if the person is positive for COVID, and whether they have been to medium and high-risk areas. The device has a total installation fee of $1060 (7,500 yuan).

The cost of a restaurant reopening after being closed immediately increases by $1060, and small businesses that are already gritting their teeth to survive sudden lockdowns suffered a potentially fatal blow.

Many netizens discussed this issue on Zhihu, and some media people also queried the order, saying that to know if someone is positive for COVID or has been to a medium-risk or high-risk area, officials need to look at the health code, why spend an additional $1060 to install an electronic robot?

Some netizens said the so-called “electronic bodyguard” sells for $537 on the online shopping platform Taobao.

There are many signs that installing electronic robots to serve the needs of pandemic prevention is more about the regime’s need to make money.

Sound Of Hope quoted some netizens mocking as follows:

“Can you please let go of the Chengdu people? The food service industry is really going through a robbery.”

“The government has no money. Right now, they can only dig up the roots of the leeks (means exploit common people). 7500 yuan could be the last straw that crushes the common people.”

Some netizens expressed deeper concerns, for example, is customer information being collected? If customers don’t want to be crawled by electronic robots, they won’t shop there anymore. Will the business suffer more?

According to NetEase, the WeChat public account “land of city” said in an article that most of the stores in Chengdu have been closed for more than two weeks and have had no income. So when reopening for business, the first thing they probably worry about is finding a way to pay their employees, mainly because the profit from restaurants and bars is not high, and two weeks’ expenses are enough to make people fall into extreme poverty.

The author said that he had not seen relevant media reports disclosing how many bars and gyms have been closed in the Chengdu lockdown. Those are the most affected industries in each outbreak. Pubs in Chengdu have been closed nine times since the pandemic began in 2020. It’s obvious how tough the business is.

The article said that the pandemic outbreak in Chengdu has subsided. The media all reported that the “Chengdu Fireworks” had returned. But it is not easy for small shops to reopen. People have their faith in life restored before they dare to spend. Electronic robots only make people feel more depressed and do nothing to help people regain confidence.

The author believed that the neighborhood or community should find a way to understand and help service stores. For example, the authorities could offer financial support, subsidies, or reduce taxes. It should at least do things to increase people’s confidence instead of thinking about fees to exploit them.

A media person wrote about a hair salon that went bankrupt when the COVID pandemic broke out in Chengdu at the end of August. The regime suddenly wiped out a barbershop. It said the hair salon fee was $2300 (516,346 yuan). The author said: “I don’t know what to say, I don’t know how we can comfort the small merchants in Chengdu.”

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