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In Coronavirus Fight, China’s Vulnerable Fall Through the Cracks

来源:纽约时报    2020-03-10 11:41

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        Lucifer Zhang, who is deaf and cannot speak, was able to get by on her $140 monthly stipend from the government. Then China locked down her home city, Wuhan, in late January to contain the coronavirus outbreak.        路西法·张(Lucifer Zhang)是一名聋哑人,一直靠政府每月1000元的低保生活。后来,中国为遏制新型冠状病毒的疫情,于1月下旬封锁了她所在的城市武汉。
        Now she has to buy face masks and disinfectants. And since Wuhan residents aren’t allowed out of their apartment compounds, Ms. Zhang, 32, and her mother, a retiree, can no longer scavenge the nearby markets for bargains. Groceries have to be ordered online and delivered, adding to prices that have already been driven up by scarcity.        现在,她不得不购买口罩和消毒剂。由于政府不允许武汉居民出家门,现年32岁的张女士和她已退休的母亲不能再去附近的市场寻找便宜货。她们必须在网上订购蔬菜和食物,等人送上门,这进一步推高了因物资短缺而上涨的物价。
        Tomatoes, for example, cost three to four times what they did before the lockdown. Ms. Zhang and her mother haven’t eaten meat in over a month.        例如,西红柿的价格是封城前的三到四倍。张女士和她的母亲已经一个多月没吃过肉了。
        “Life is too tough,” Ms. Zhang wrote on Weibo, the Twitter-like social media platform. “I want to jump from the balcony.”        “生活太难了,”张女士在类似Twitter的社交媒体平台微博上写道。“站在阳台好想跳下去。”
        The outbreak has affected just about all of China’s 1.4 billion people. Even the rich and the powerful have to follow quarantine rules, which often means staying home.        新冠病毒疫情几乎影响了中国14亿人中的每个人。就连富人和有权有势者也必须遵守隔离规定,这通常意味着呆在家里。
        But it’s the most vulnerable — the poor, the disabled, the very old and the very young — who have been hit hardest. The coronavirus is exposing the breadth of China’s wealth gap and the holes in its social safety net.        但是,最脆弱的人群——穷人、残疾人、老年人和儿童——受到的打击最严重。新冠病毒暴露了中国巨大的贫富差距和社会保障网的漏洞。
        A 16-year-old with cerebral palsy in a village in Hubei Province, where Wuhan is the capital, starved to death days after his father was taken to a hospital. A 6-year-old boy was found in an apartment in Shiyan, also in Hubei, alone with the body of his grandfather; he told community workers that he hadn’t gone out to ask for help because his grandfather told him the virus was outside.        在湖北的一个村子里,一名16岁的脑瘫少年在父亲被送进医院几天后饿死了。在湖北十堰,一名6岁的男孩被人发现在家独自一人守着爷爷的尸体;他告诉社区工作人员,他没有出去找人帮忙,因为爷爷告诉他外面有病毒。
        A young couple, both migrant workers, left their newborn son at a Guangdong Province hospital last month because they were out of money and, with the economy at a standstill, couldn’t find work. In Henan Province, state media reported that a ninth-grade girl attempted suicide after her school shut down and she couldn’t take online classes, because her family had to share a single mobile phone.        上个月,一对年轻的农民工夫妇因为花光了所有的钱,加之经济停摆找不到工作,他们把刚出生的儿子遗弃在广东的一家医院。据官方媒体报道,河南一名上初三的女孩试图自杀,因为学校停课后,她无法上网课,因为全家人只有一部手机。
        China is one of the most unequal countries in the world. It has more billionaires than the United States. But though hundreds of millions of its people have risen out of poverty over the past few decades, about 400 million were living just above the poverty line in 2015, according to the World Bank.        中国是世界上收入最不平等的国家之一。它的亿万富翁数量超过超过美国。尽管在过去几十年里,中国已有数亿人摆脱了贫困,但根据世界银行的数据,2015年时,中国有大约四亿人的生活水平只是略高于贫困线。
        China has expanded medical coverage and made poverty eradication a top priority. Yet it still lags behind some other emerging economies, let alone the world’s richest countries, in public spending on education, health care and social assistance.        中国已经扩大了医保覆盖范围,并把消除贫困作为头等大事来抓。然而,中国在教育、医疗和社会救济方面的公共支出仍落后于某些其他新兴经济体,更不用说世界上的富裕国家了。
        Social spending accounted for 8 percent of China’s economic output in 2016, compared with an average of 22 percent for nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the global club of developed countries. The United States spends the equivalent of one-fifth of its output on health care and other social programs; China’s social spending was on par with Mexico’s, and lower than South Africa’s.        2016年,社会性支出占中国经济总产值的8%,而全球发达国家俱乐部——经济合作与发展组织的成员国平均水平为22%。美国在医疗保健和其他社会项目上的支出相当于其总产值的五分之一;中国的社会性支出与墨西哥持平,低于南非。
        In recent years, China has expanded social services meant to help older and disabled people in their daily lives, but they still aren’t as widespread as in more developed countries. For most Chinese people, their families are their safety net.        近年来,中国扩大了为老年人和残疾人日常生活提供帮助的社会服务,但这些服务仍不像发达国家那样普遍。对大多数中国人来说,家庭是他们的安全网。
        In Wuhan, social services essentially stopped when the city was locked down. Many neighborhoods were deprived of medical care, food supplies and social assistance. People were left to fend for themselves.        武汉封城后,社会服务基本上停止了。许多社区得不到医疗服务、食品供应和社会援助。人们只能自己想办法。
        Volunteer groups said local officials were too overwhelmed by the outbreak to make sure that the needs of older and disabled people were met.        志愿者组织说,疫情令当地官员不堪重负,无力确保老年人和残疾人的需求得到满足。
        For example, the Wuhan government made no announcements about the epidemic in sign language, said Cui Jing, an organizer for a group supporting deaf people in the city. On Jan. 23, the day the city was locked down, some deaf residents didn’t find out about it until they had trouble taking public transportation, Ms. Cui said.        例如,武汉市一个帮助聋哑人团体的组织者崔静(音)说,市政府发布有关疫情的通知时没有手语翻译。崔女士说,1月23日,也就是武汉封城的那天,一些聋哑人直到出门找不到公交车后才知道封城的事情。
        Many older deaf people have trouble reading, so much information about the outbreak’s seriousness did not reach them. Some kept getting together to play mahjong, despite a ban on such gatherings. After the city forbade residents to leave their compounds in February, Ms. Cui’s 66-year-old aunt, who is also deaf, sneaked out, only to find the shops and markets closed.        许多年龄大的聋哑人有阅读困难,所以他们没有收到有关疫情严重性的许多信息。有些人继续聚在一起打麻将,尽管政府已禁止了这类聚集性活动。市政府在2月份开始禁止居民离开小区后,崔女士66岁的姨妈(聋哑人)偷偷溜了出去,却发现商店和市场都关门了。
        When deaf residents became sick, they found it hard to communicate with medical workers. Most Chinese hospitals are unable to provide sign-language services, even when they are not as strained as the Wuhan and Hubei hospitals have been.        聋哑居民生病时,他们发现很难与医务人员交流。大多数中国医院都没有提供手语服务的能力,即使它们是在没有武汉和湖北的医院所面对的这种紧张情况下。
        Amy Ye, the organizer of a volunteer group for disabled people in Wuhan, said that as soon as Wuhan was locked down, her organization asked local community workers to look out for disabled people. But they were too overwhelmed. The volunteers tried to help disabled residents themselves, but gave up because public transportation had been shut down.        武汉一个残疾人志愿者团体的组织者艾米·叶(Amy Ye)说,武汉刚开始封城时,她所在的团体曾要求当地的社区工作人员留心残疾人。但社区工作人员根本顾不过来。志愿者曾自己试图帮助残疾居民,但因为公共交通停运而放弃了。
        “The whole city was paralyzed,” Ms. Ye said.        “整个城市都瘫痪了,”叶女士说。
        Like Ms. Zhang, Ms. Ye, who uses a wheelchair, lives on a monthly government stipend. She spends nearly a fifth of it, about $30, on prescription drugs for her high blood pressure, the cheapest she can find. And food costs have soared. A cucumber costs nearly $1 now, and the price of pork has tripled since a year ago.        坐轮椅的叶女士与张女士一样,也是靠政府每月发放的低保生活。她购买治疗高血压的处方药要花掉约200元,既每月低保的将近五分之一,这是她能找到的最便宜的药。食品价格飙升。现在,一根黄瓜都快七块钱了,猪肉的价格比一年前涨了两倍。
        “My family has always been treading on thin ice financially,” she said. “I want this to be over as soon as possible.”        “我家一直是如履薄冰,”她说。“希望这一切快点结束。”
        Community workers in many neighborhoods in Hubei have turned to mobile apps to share information and organize grocery shopping for residents. The most widely used app is the social messaging service WeChat, which hundreds of millions of Chinese use to communicate, pay and shop.        湖北许多社区的社区工作人员已经开始用移动应用程序来共享信息,为居民组织采购。使用最广泛的应用是社交短信服务微信,好几亿中国人通过它进行交流、支付和购物。
        But many older people aren’t familiar with WeChat or fluent in all of its functions. Many are lost when they have to use their phones to shop for food.        但许多老年人不熟悉微信,不熟悉其所有的功能。许多人用手机买东西时会不知所措。
        Hu Jing, a Wuhan resident who has been doing volunteer work over the past month, said that in one six-hour shift at an apartment compound, about a dozen older people came to her complaining that groceries were too expensive, or that they didn’t know how to order them online.        武汉居民胡静(音)在过去一个月里一直在做志愿工作。她说,在公寓小区一个六小时的班上,大约有十几位老人找她抱怨东西太贵,或者不知道怎样在网上买东西。
        A volunteer group started a social media campaign last week asking for information about seniors in Wuhan who needed help buying groceries. Within a week, they received more than 1,300 requests from children and neighbors of isolated older residents. The group has arranged to help dozens of them, said Jackie Yu, a volunteer.        上周,一个志愿者组织在社交媒体上发起了一场活动,询问武汉需要帮助购买生活用品的老年人的信息。他们在一周内就收到了1300多份来自独居老人的子女和邻居的请求。志愿者杰基·余(Jackie Yu)说,该组织已为其中的数十人做了安排。
        For people like Ms. Zhang and Ms. Ye, the most disheartening thing has been the lack of empathy shown by some people who are better off. On Weibo, a woman in Wuhan who described being caught in the epidemic with scant savings was called a loser. People who complained about food prices and empty stomachs were dismissed as liars and rumormongers.        对张女士和叶女士这样的人来说,最令人沮丧的是一些生活没问题的人表现出的缺乏同情心。微博上,武汉一名描述在疫情中发现钱用光了的女子被称为失败者。那些抱怨食品价格上涨和吃不饱肚子的人被斥为骗子、造谣者。
        It isn’t uncommon for social media users to accuse the poor and less fortunate of not trying hard enough. “They have no sympathy until they’re in our situation,” said Ms. Ye. “Otherwise, they’ll just laugh at you.”        指责穷人和不幸者不够努力的社交媒体用户并不少见。“当他们自己到了这个状况,才会意识到,”叶女士说。“他不在这个状况时只会嘲笑你。”
        She and Ms. Zhang each received a $72 emergency subsidy from the Wuhan government, and both said the money would make a difference. Ms. Zhang said she had ordered pork and couldn’t wait for it to be delivered.        她和张女士都得到了武汉市政府提供的500元紧急补贴,两人都说这笔钱是很大的帮助。张女士说,她已经在网上买了猪肉,在迫不及待地等着送货。
        Ms. Zhang has never had medical insurance or a chance to go to school. She learned reading and basic math on her own. Her introduction on her WeChat account reads, “All that’s wonderful in life has nothing to do with me.”        张女士从未有过医保,也没有机会上学。她自学了读写和基本的算数。她在微信账号上对自己的介绍是:“这世间的一切美好都与我无关。”
        (I asked her on WeChat if she knew that Lucifer, her chosen English name, was another name for Satan. She replied that she knew but thought it was cool.)        (我通过微信问她是否知道,她选择的英文名“路西法”是撒旦的另一个称呼。她回答说知道,但觉得这个名字很帅。)
        Ms. Zhang has had her own problems finding empathy. When she complained about grocery prices in a neighborhood chat group, a member snapped that poor people could move to the countryside. They’ll be happy there, the neighbor wrote — they can grow their own vegetables.        张女士也在找到同情者方面遇到过困难。当她在一个社区聊天群里抱怨菜太贵时,群里的一名成员不耐烦地说,穷人可以搬到农村去。这名邻居写道,穷人在农村会很开心,他们可以自己种菜吃。
        Ms. Zhang understood that her neighbor was worried that the grocer would stop delivering to their compound if they complained about prices. But the neighbor could be a little more thoughtful, she wrote to me.        张女士知道她的邻居担心,如果他们抱怨菜价,超市会停止给他们的小区送菜。但这名邻居可以想得更周到一些,她在写给我的短信中说。
        “There are many poor people in the world,” she wrote. “But when the others question why you are so poor, you have no way to explain.”        “这世上真的有好多穷人,”她写道。“可是面对大家质问你为什么这么穷,也没办法说。”

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