‘Humiliating’: Shanghai Billionaire Laments Life Under Protracted Lockdown

Liu Yiqian, a billionaire who lives in Shanghai, lamented that life is “humiliating” two months into the lockdown due to the Chinese regime’s harsh “zero-COVID” policy. His viral post on May 22 on Chinese social media platform WeChat was accompanied by a photo of himself, messy-haired, unshaven, and wearing what appeared to be an oversized v-neck T-shirt. Screen capture of Shanghai billionaire Liu Yiqian’s WeChat post bemoaning life under lockdown. (Screenshot by The Epoch Times) Liu’s post said, “I am humiliating myself. Every morning the neighborhood committee would give orders to our neighborhood to do PCR tests and catch the [COVID-19] positives. And they give clear deadlines, 9 a.m. the order is in and it ends by noon. After a few days of observation, there seem to be fewer and fewer residents [who would get tested]. Perhaps people are numb, tired of it already.” “However,” Liu continues, “[we] still have to live. In order to escape Shanghai’s one-size-fits-all lockdown, some friends would rather go to other provinces and be put under quarantine for 14 days. [People are] also leaving Shanghai, it’s changing so fast. As to whether to have hope for the future, even thinking about it wrong.” According to Forbes, the 59-year-old investor and art collector had a net worth of $1.37 billion in 2015. Liu Yiqian and his wife have frequented auction houses in Hong Kong and New York, spending hundreds of millions and breaking records collecting art pieces. In 2014, the couple set a record by spending $36.3 million for a Ming Dynasty teacup at Sotheby’s Hong Kong. Liu later posed for a photo while sipping from the tiny teacup. Chinese billionaire and art collector Liu Yiqian (R) speaks at an opening ceremony in Shanghai, China, for the exhibition of a $36 million Ming Dynasty tea cup he bought and paid for with his American Express card on Dec. 18, 2014. (Chinatopix via AP) In 2015, the couple paid $170.4 million for Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani’s “Nu couché,” auctioned by Christie’s New York.  It was the second most expensive artwork ever sold at auction. According to Chinese media reports, Liu is from Shanghai. He worked at his uncle’s shoe factory before becoming a taxi driver. In the 1990s, Liu started to make his fortune investing in China’s nascent stock market. To house their collections, the couple has opened their own private art museum with two locations in Shanghai and one in Chongqing. Many commented on Liu’s post. One said, “The life of a top-tier rich guy in Shanghai is like this under the pandemic! One who spent hundreds of millions on teacup and painting, but now he does not have a comb for his hair…” Another person said, “Under disasters, poor and rich all live without dignity… A Shanghai rich man who spent $36 million for a teacup, Liu Yiqian: how come the iron fist is also hitting my head?” Liu is not the only member of China’s elite who has been affected by the lockdown. Kathy Xu, a billionaire venture capitalist and daughter of the Chairman of China National Heavy Duty Truck Group, asked in April on social media to be included in the “group purchase chatroom” so she could purchase milk and bread “for her son and friends.” Follow Kelly Song is a U.S.-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on all things related to China.

‘Humiliating’:  Shanghai Billionaire Laments Life Under Protracted Lockdown

Liu Yiqian, a billionaire who lives in Shanghai, lamented that life is “humiliating” two months into the lockdown due to the Chinese regime’s harsh “zero-COVID” policy. His viral post on May 22 on Chinese social media platform WeChat was accompanied by a photo of himself, messy-haired, unshaven, and wearing what appeared to be an oversized v-neck T-shirt.

Epoch Times Photo
Screen capture of Shanghai billionaire Liu Yiqian’s WeChat post bemoaning life under lockdown. (Screenshot by The Epoch Times)

Liu’s post said, “I am humiliating myself. Every morning the neighborhood committee would give orders to our neighborhood to do PCR tests and catch the [COVID-19] positives. And they give clear deadlines, 9 a.m. the order is in and it ends by noon. After a few days of observation, there seem to be fewer and fewer residents [who would get tested]. Perhaps people are numb, tired of it already.”

“However,” Liu continues, “[we] still have to live. In order to escape Shanghai’s one-size-fits-all lockdown, some friends would rather go to other provinces and be put under quarantine for 14 days. [People are] also leaving Shanghai, it’s changing so fast. As to whether to have hope for the future, even thinking about it wrong.”

According to Forbes, the 59-year-old investor and art collector had a net worth of $1.37 billion in 2015. Liu Yiqian and his wife have frequented auction houses in Hong Kong and New York, spending hundreds of millions and breaking records collecting art pieces.

In 2014, the couple set a record by spending $36.3 million for a Ming Dynasty teacup at Sotheby’s Hong Kong. Liu later posed for a photo while sipping from the tiny teacup.

Epoch Times Photo
Chinese billionaire and art collector Liu Yiqian (R) speaks at an opening ceremony in Shanghai, China, for the exhibition of a $36 million Ming Dynasty tea cup he bought and paid for with his American Express card on Dec. 18, 2014. (Chinatopix via AP)

In 2015, the couple paid $170.4 million for Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani’s “Nu couché,” auctioned by Christie’s New York.  It was the second most expensive artwork ever sold at auction.

According to Chinese media reports, Liu is from Shanghai. He worked at his uncle’s shoe factory before becoming a taxi driver. In the 1990s, Liu started to make his fortune investing in China’s nascent stock market.

To house their collections, the couple has opened their own private art museum with two locations in Shanghai and one in Chongqing.

Many commented on Liu’s post. One said, “The life of a top-tier rich guy in Shanghai is like this under the pandemic! One who spent hundreds of millions on teacup and painting, but now he does not have a comb for his hair…”

Another person said, “Under disasters, poor and rich all live without dignity… A Shanghai rich man who spent $36 million for a teacup, Liu Yiqian: how come the iron fist is also hitting my head?”

Liu is not the only member of China’s elite who has been affected by the lockdown. Kathy Xu, a billionaire venture capitalist and daughter of the Chairman of China National Heavy Duty Truck Group, asked in April on social media to be included in the “group purchase chatroom” so she could purchase milk and bread “for her son and friends.”

Kelly Song

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Kelly Song is a U.S.-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on all things related to China.