From her bed in Shanghai, Paloma joined an online protest against the strict Covid-19 lockdowns in her city by sharing a video on the dominant messaging app WeChat. The video, with millions of views already, documented heartbroken voices from a city of 25 million confined for weeks in near-total lockdown: pleas from a son seeking treatment for his critically ill father, shouts from residents demanding food, and cries from babies separated from their parents.
As China’s frenzied censors worked to delete the six-minute video, titled The Voice of April, people created new variations to keep it circulating on WeChat Channels, a TikTok-like short video service. In one, the clip was embedded onto a picture of China’s Civil Code. Another combined it with a song by pop megastar Jay Chou. The more it was deleted, the more angry and determined Paloma became.[…]