Photo: Church/GJEP

Why We Shouldn’t Push for a Closure of China’s ‘Wet Markets’

Earth Island Journal 13 April 2020

Latoya Abulu

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and I’m off to a so-called “wet market” in Shanghai.

Now that extensive measures during what the government called the “Special Period” have been lifted, life has sprung anew in one of the world’s most populous cities with the reopening of stores, restaurants, and markets coinciding with the flowering of cherry blossoms.

Masks however, are still the order of the day, with continued, colorful, state-run messages encouraging citizens to fight on (加油!, “jiāyóu!”) covering walls and giant screens across the city, along with temperature checks by security personnel at all points of entry. This includes “wet markets” that are all guarded by at least two officers.

Though they have probably already taken the temperature of hundreds of people bustling about this morning, the guard at the market I visit is on alert as he checks mine. Another asks me to write my name and phone number beside my temperature reading. Depending on the market, your phone gets scanned, making sure your COVID-19 Color QR code is green. We all have had to install a mini app on our phones that tracks our location and runs a continuous contagion threat assessment on us, changing colors depending on whether or not we have crossed paths with a contaminated person.

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