Trauma and resistance – China under lockdown

24. September 2023, 15:00
Flyer of the Event

Die folgende Vereanstaltung findet auf Englisch und Chinesisch statt, darum haben wir hier die Texte auch nur auf Englisch veröffentlicht

When: 24.09.2023
From when to when: Start 3 pm to 9 pm
Where: Salon of the FMP1
What: Film Screenings and discussions with the directors plus food for a donation

Free tickets here

At the end of 2022, in the immediate wake of the widespread “blank paper” or “A4” protests, the Chinese government suddenly lifted all Covid measures. In the rush back to “normality,” the prevailing sense of release and excitement was so strong that three years of experiences with Covid in China seemed to vanish. But the surveillance technology developed during the Covid years in China has taken hold throughout society. The Covid-era level of total control has remained. The collective memory of the Covid years can barely be voiced due to censorship. We are being urged to run into the “bright future,” without looking back.

But trauma does not simply disappear. Buried in the memories of isolated and helpless individuals, unprocessed, in the dark, traumatic experience reliably shows up in the form of somatic symptoms.

We want to keep talking about these experiences, to continue reflecting on what exactly happened, from the beginning up to the very end. We refuse to „shut up and move on.“ It is urgent for us to salvage our collective memories from the authority’s efforts to erase them.

The short Films selected here are nearly impossible to see in China due to censorship. In choosing them, we aim to show an array of life stories told from different perspectives under the Covid lockdowns in China: in the city and the countryside, of the middle and working class, from Han and ethnic minorities, through action and documentary Fillmmaking. This showcas- ing allows for an exploration of various political themes. Filmmakers are invited to join the post-viewing discussion via video connection. Following Q&A with the Filmmakers, we will hold a panel discussion: about how Chinese society was controlled during the Covid years, and on different forms of resistance.

We intend to create a safe space to share, narrate, make sense of, and hopefully come to terms with our collective, lived, traumatic experiences: the fears, the ridiculousness, the helplessness, the anger, the sometimes unexpected kindness – all in the face of inhumane policies and human tragedies. To bring together the personal, emotional and the political. To build transnational solidarity.

We also look forward to speaking about different Covid experiences worldwide with a non-Chinese audience, especial- ly focused on the question of how the waves of anti-ZeroCovid protests in China were progressive and democratic in nature, while the covid-denial protests in the West were dominated by the right.

Screening | 3-5 pm

1.Through The Window (29’57) (2022)

From March to May 2022, Shanghai experienced one of the harshest lockdowns of the Chinese Covid experience. Countless citizens in China’s most prosperous metropolis suffered from a scarcity of supplies and food and were forced to watch loved ones pass away as it was forbidden to seek medical help for non-Covid-related illnesses. This is a video diary of the surreal lockdown made by a filmmaker couple who were trapped in a small, rented apartment in Shanghai. In the face of endless madness, the camera gradually breaks free from the window and observes a vast social isolation, unprecedented in the country’s history.

2. Bye Bye Barrier! (14’29’’)

Dual screen video arts about Guangzhou Lockdown. One day in November 2022, early in the morning, the Guangzhou city government ended the lockdown in the eastern and western corners of the municipal district Haizhu, while the central part of the district  remained besieged by water-filled barriers and tin walls. Haizhu District, which is also an island geographically, was called „one district, two regulations“ by its residents.

3.  Ridiculous Nurshad (30’54’’)

When the pandemic broke out in Wuhan in 2020, the Uyghur community circulated the theory that the “Wuhan virus” was a punishment from God to Han Chinese, believing that the virus would not spread among Uyghur people like SARS in 2003. This film is an attempt to reflect the mental state of Uyghur male youths at the time of ethnic-cleansing and pandemic.

Q&A with filmmakers | 5-6 pm

Dinner | 6-7 pm

Donation based Chinese homemade buffet with delicacies from different regions

Panel Discussion:From total control to resistance | 7-9 pm

Control on all fronts: propaganda and censorship machines went into full force, as physical restriction measures went frenetic, and suffering was forced to remain private.


Resistance in all forms:  from viral last-generation memes to the commemoration of a whistle-blower, from workers‘ disruptive anger to university students‘ protests on campuses across the country, from self-organised resident movements to citizens breaking out of sealed-off neighbourhoods and taking to the streets in major cities.

Contributing panelists include:  China Lockdown experiencers, Chinese journalists who closely observed and documented this disaster, activists involved in resistance movements, and a scholar of Chinese social movements. Audience participants  are invited to join the discussion.


Salon, FMP1, Franz-Mehring-Platz 1, 10243 Berlin

Partner / Veranstalter

Münzenberg Forum Berlin