Protests Spread in China as People Demand 'Freedom,' and That Xi and CCP 'Step Down'

Protests have been spreading across China against their zero-COVID policy, especially in the wake of a deadly apartment fire in Urumqi that resulted in ten people being killed. People blame the government’s COVID policies for hampering the ability to help save the people in the fire and they’ve had enough. It’s gotten so bad that officials in Urumqi said they would begin phasing out COVID restrictions in some areas.

 

 

The anger has spread to all corners of China, from major cities to far flung regions like Xinjiang and Tibet, and galvanised every part of society including young university students, factory workers, and ordinary citizens.

As this anger grows, protests against Covid measures have become an increasingly common sight. But even this weekend’s demonstrations are unusual in this new normal, both in their numbers and directness of their criticism of the government and President Xi Jinping. [….]

Others have also chosen to wave the Chinese flag and sing the national anthem – its lyrics espousing revolutionary ideals and urging the people to “rise up, rise up”. It’s a show of patriotism that could also be read as a pointed expression of solidarity with fellow Chinese suffering under Mr Xi’s zero-Covid policy – and a call to action.

Thousands turned out in Shanghai and hundreds protested in Beijing and Nanjing. In Shanghai, they directly challenged Xi Jinping, calling on him and the CCP to “step down.”

A China correspondent for a Dutch paper, Eva Rammeloo noted that some of the people were arrested by the police and that they cleared away some of the memorials to the fire victims. But Rameloo said she just wanted to “add how incredible this is” and that she’d never seen anything like the anger in the decade in which she had reported on China, that it “seems too much to crack down on.”

This is what courage looks like.

It’s an incredibly stupid stance for the government to take — zero-COVID — since that isn’t possible. It’s only making a people who were already oppressed even angrier. But the Chinese have persisted in it for three years. The people appear to finally have had enough. Will it be enough to change things? The government may have to finally start making changes if they don’t want to face this everywhere.

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