A rare glimpse into Wuhan’s draconian lockdown by Ai Weiwei

Directed remotely from Europe, activist and artist Ai Weiwei documents China’s lockdown in CoroNation.

Words Adam Bryce
Photography Supplied

Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has never been one to shy away from speaking his mind about the Chinese government and his new film, Coronation, is no different. We see the release of an incredibly insightful documentary about the unprecedented Coronavirus lockdown that began in Wuhan, China where patient zero was first identified.

It was reportedly December 2019, when murmurs began to spread of Covid-19 (officially CoViD-19, short for CoronaVirus2019). Now, the whole world has been turned upside down by the deadly disease with casualties nearing 800,000 (as of 22 August 2020).

“Surveillance, ideological brainwashing, and brute determination used to control every aspect of society.” — Ai Weiwei.

Weiwei’s documentary tells the story of a cover-up with huge global consequences. The footage was shot by individuals living through the Wuhan lockdown, chronicling their own experiences of this extraordinary series of events. Many harrowing tales are told including an emergency construction worker forced to live out of his car and a grieving son who navigates the bureaucracy of retrieving his father’s ashes. Brace yourself.

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