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The Chinese Megacity Where Masks Are Rare and Clubs Are Packed

  • Masks are rare, clubs are packed and tourism is booming
  • Threat of lockdown hangs over city, after sporadic Covid cases
The Sujiaba Trail observation deck in Chongqing.
The Sujiaba Trail observation deck in Chongqing.Photographer: Colum Murphy/Bloomberg
Updated on

President Xi Jinping’s Covid Zero strategy has become notorious internationally for its grueling lockdowns. But in the southwestern megacity Chongqing, signs of China’s signature pandemic policy disrupting daily life are hard to find.

Tourists snapped selfies at an ancient fortress while hundreds of partygoers packed into a gay bar this week, with barely a mask in sight. Ride-hailing-app users hopped into Didi Global Inc. cars to escape the city’s 40-degree Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) heat wave without scanning contact-tracing apps, unlike in Beijing. Domestic travelers poured into the city, which mostly doesn’t require quarantine on arrival.