Documenting the lockdown in Wuhan

Chinese writer Fang Fang chronicles the onset of the global health crisis

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Wuhan Diary
Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City, by Fang Fang

On January 25, 2020, after the Chinese central government imposed a lockdown in Wuhan, Fang Fang began publishing an online diary. In the days and weeks that followed, the acclaimed author’s nightly postings gave voice to the fears, frustrations, anger, and hope of millions of fellow citizens, reflecting on the psychological impact of forced isolation, the role of the internet as both community lifeline and source of misinformation, and most tragically, the lives of neighbours and friends taken by the deadly virus.

Her notes can now be read in the form a book Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined Citya compilation of the author’s diary entries and social media posts that document 60 days of lockdown during the COVID-19 epidemic. Released worldwide recently, it is set to be translated into 15 languages.

An eyewitness account of events as they unfolded, Wuhan Diary captures the challenges of daily life and the changing moods and emotions of being quarantined without reliable information. Fang Fang finds solace in small domestic comforts, and is inspired by the courage of friends, health professionals, and volunteers, as well as the resilience and perseverance of Wuhan’s nine million residents. But, by claiming the writer’s duty to record, she also speaks out against social injustice, abuse of power, and other problems that impeded the response to the epidemic and gets herself embroiled in online controversies because of it.

As the writer documents the beginning of the global health crisis in real time, one is able to identify patterns and mistakes that many of the countries dealing with the novel coronavirus pandemic have later repeated. She reminds that, in the face of the new virus, the plight of the citizens of Wuhan is also that of citizens everywhere. She writes: “The virus is the common enemy of humankind; that is a lesson for all humanity. The only way we can conquer this virus and free ourselves from its grip is for all members of humankind to work together.”

Dedicating the book to the people of Wuhan, Fang Fang says that it is also for those people who came to the city’s aid during its darkest hour.

All proceeds the sale of this book will be used to aid people who put their lives on the line for Wuhan.


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