After the number of COVID-19 infections increased sharply in Inner Mongolia, China, it was recently reported that the pandemic in Zhengzhou, Henan province is continues to spread and people are fleeing during the night. The government however has blocked related news and deleted comments on the internet.

The great defection of Foxconn employees in Zhengzhou

On October 29, videos went viral showing Foxconn employees in Zhengzhou absconding overnight with their luggage and walking home. Reports said that someone had walked for two days and two nights to get home.

On the Douyin platform (Chinese version of Tiktok), some netizens when passing the Zhengzhou Expressway questioned, why there were a lot of people walking with luggage. They wondered what had happened. 

A person whose account is “please call me Meimei” said in a video that he had walked home, from Zhengzhou to Luoyang. He said he had been for a week in a Foxconn dormitory and was given nothing to eat but water and bread.

An article by a netizen posted on Redian said that most of the people working at Foxconn are young people. There are many young people who are high school and middle school graduates.

The escape of Foxconn employees in Zhengzhou has become a major event in Henan. People along the route provided food and water to these young people.

It is said that it is better than the great escape of the Henan people during the famine of 1942 that shocked China, because at least they did not starve to death.

Many netizens said they had tears in their eyes watching videos of Foxconn employees fleeing in Zhengzhou. They hope that these children can return home safely and that they will not be discriminated against by the authorities in their hometown.

The government denies the rumors and quickly blocks the news

On October 30, Henan province had 7 new locally confirmed infections and 26 asymptomatic infections. Except for one confirmed case in Nanyang city, all other confirmed cases are in Zhengzhou. Currently, the pandemic situation in Zhengzhou is very serious, and a large number of communities are locked down.

However, locals revealed that most areas in Zhengzhou are locked down and it is difficult to get food and necessities.

In this regard, mainland people are very concerned. On Weibo, some Henan netizens pointed out that articles labeled “Zhengzhou Translation” had exceeded 3 billion views, but strangely the topic was not searchable on Weibo. As of 10 pm on October 30, the topic “Wang Chuqin vs Zhang Benzhi” topped the hot search list with only 98.05 million followers.

The only topic about the pandemic in Zhengzhou that made it to the top 10 of the hot search list was “No serious infections occurred at the Foxconn factory.” However, it is worth noting that comments and videos about the “Zhengzhou pandemic” have been removed from Weibo.

In addition, officials also seem to be actively proposing to discuss the issue that many people in Henan sent letters to local Foxconn employees in Zhengzhou.”

This content labeled as related to Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory is mainly aimed at the fact that district and city governments in Henan province have said they are ready to accept workers who went back home.

Earlier, there was information on the internet that the “pandemic situation is developing and quite serious” in Zhengzhou, Henan, and the Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou was the worst affected. Some 20,000 employees were infected, got sick, and taken to quarantine. There is also a video posted by the Twitter account “Compassion and Joy” on October 29, showing Foxconn employees in Zhengzhou running outside the blockade area to scramble for supplies.

Twitter account @TragedyInChina also posted four videos and added, “Today there was a riot at Foxconn Zhengzhou, and Dabai was kicked out!”

However, officials tried to refute the rumor, saying that “about 20,000 people at the Zhengzhou factory have been found to be infected with COVID-19” was untrue. Production and operations in the park were relatively stable, and factory workers continued to work in safe conditions.

After Foxconn denied the rumor, netizens in Zhengzhou revealed that the rumor almost came true, and now various community groups are sending out notices, indicating that the government is blocking Foxconn employees and told them and indeed persuaded some of them to return to the factory.

At the same time, the government in some districts in Henan also issued an open letter to Foxconn employees who fled during the night that they must report their health status when they return home and quarantine.

Many mainlanders asked, “Why are Foxconn workers leaving the factory to go home? The media should monitor the situation and report it. Some people say that medical resources are in short supply. There’s not enough food, some people say that patients, close contacts, and ordinary people all go to work, and because of this, factory employees panicked and fled.”

One netizen asked, “What happened in the Foxconn factory that caused these employees to quit their jobs, even if they had to walk, they had to go home. There are many employees walking home at night, so how should Foxconn explain it?”

“The number of infections at the Foxconn Zhengzhou factory has indeed been confirmed. According to the ‘Shanghai Refusal of Rumors Principle,’ as long as there is no accurate data at the time, it is just a rumor.”

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