A closer look at Wuhan, the city

“The government has turned to familiar authoritarian techniques — like setting up dragnets and asking neighbors to inform on one another — as it tries to contain the outbreak,” reports New York Times’s Paul Mozur.

While officials around China scramble to identify people who have been to Wuhan, marking them as outcasts and potentially stigmatizing an entire region, others on the internet are publishing timely reminders that Wuhan is more than the coronavirus. For example, CNN’s Yuli Yang, a Wuhan native, tweeted this thread that celebrates some of the city’s accomplishments and sources of pride, including its hot dry noodles (热干面 règānmiàn), tennis Hall of Famer Lǐ Nà 李娜, and the origin of the word zhiyin (知音 zhīyīn), which means “best friend” or “confidant.”

In a summary of Wuhan’s history, British historian Robert Bickers wrote on his blog: “Let’s remember, please: Wuhan is not an unknown place, it is not beyond our knowledge.”

Xiaoyu Lu, a student in Wuhan, has this dispatch from the quarantined city (the story begins: “The only thing that hasn’t changed since they shut down the city is my grandmother’s insistence on walking the dog”), and Australian-Chinese political cartoonist Badiucao has been translating a Wuhan resident’s diary, helpfully posted on translator David Cowhig’s website (first entry here). For a different perspective, here’s a Facebook group of Wuhan expats.

—Anthony Tao