Staying virus-free in Chengdu

Peter Hessler, one of the finest chroniclers in English of modern China, is currently living with his family in Chengdu, where he is teaching writing at a local university. Chengdu is not only separated by several hundred miles from Wuhan, where the epidemic started; in the aftermath of the outbreak, he says in a piece for The New Yorker, the two cities “seemed to belong to different worlds, different eras”. His piece begins:

On the twenty-seventh day of the coronavirus lockdown in Chengdu, in southwestern China, five masked men appeared in the lobby of my apartment building in order to deliver a hundred-inch TCL Xclusive television.

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