China’s Largest Industrial City Suzhou Forced Into COVID-19 Lockdown

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Residents queue to undergo tests for COVID-19 in Suzhou, China, on Feb. 16, 2022. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

The Epoch Times

By Shawn Lin

Suzhou City of Jiangsu Province announced on April 16 that it will implement closed-off management to curb the latest COVID-19 outbreak. Suzhou is one of the major industrial centers in China. Its industrial output surpassed that of Shanghai last year.

The Suzhou Municipal Government Information Office announced on its WeChat account that starting from 12 a.m. on April 16, the city will step up its pandemic control measures in six districts. These districts, including Suzhou Industrial Park and Suzhou High-tech Zone, will implement “closed-off management” and strictly enforce “one guard at each residential community entrance” to forbid non-residents from entering the community unless absolutely necessary.

The WeChat notice was released at 6:02 a.m. local time on April 16, which means that Suzhou had been placed under lockdown six hours before the public was notified.

According to official data released by Suzhou authorities, as of the end of day on April 16, there were a total of less than 600 confirmed cases.

The Epoch Times is unable to verify the number of confirmed cases.

From April 11 to 14, Jiangsu Province dispatched 3,000 medical staff from six other cities to Suzhou day and night to help carry out sampling for PCR testing.

Suzhou is only 110 kilometers (68 miles) away from Shanghai. Immediately after the virus outbreak in Shanghai, Suzhou sent more than 1,000 people to support, including PCR test sampling, the construction of a makeshift hospital, help with the transfer of close contacts and secondary close contacts to quarantine sites, and help with the treatment of confirmed patients. In just a few days, Suzhou found itself battling the Omicron wave.

Kunshan and Taichang, two county-level cities under the jurisdiction of Suzhou, implemented “static management’—another name coined by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for all-region lockdown, since April 7 and April 11, respectively.

Suzhou’s Industrial Output Ranks Number One, Surpassing Shanghai

Suzhou is of great significance not only to Jiangsu Province but also to the entire country. As one of the most important industrial cities in China, the city’s GDP reached 2.27 trillion yuan (about $356 billion) in 2021. In the past several years, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Suzhou have been among the top three industrial cities in China.

Although not top-notch, Suzhou’s high-tech and industrial clusters are robust and competent, with a wide range of industries including biomedicine, nanotechnology, semiconductor manufacturing, artificial intelligence, Ute steel, and others.

In terms of economic profits, Shanghai is still the number one industrial city in China, but in terms of total industrial output value, Shanghai has been surpassed by Suzhou. Now both cities are placed under lockdown, this will undoubtedly have a major impact on the Chinese economy.

According to Chinese portal NetEase, the head of an auto parts supply chain revealed that two of the company’s three production lines have suspended operation: one in Kunshan and the other in Taicang, both are under “static management.” The third line that is still operating can only last until the end of April, because the company’s raw material inventory will be exhausted by then.

Another Suzhou entrepreneur told Chinese state media that many overseas customers were already inquiring about the possibility of transferring manufacturing orders to other overseas factories.

“Generally, once they transfer out of China, they are unlikely to return. This will have a long-term impact on China’s industrial chain,” he said.