China is witnessing massive protests against President Xi’s Zero Covid policy. Continuous lockdowns have spiraled into a second night and spread to many big cities including capital Beijing and financial hub Shanghai. Demonstrators gathered in the capital Beijing yesterday and the protests continued in Shanghai for the second night shouting anti-government slogans and calling for an easing of the COVID restrictions.
An unprecedented display of solidarity to oppose the COVID restrictions which has entered its third year, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Chaoyang district in the heart of capital beijing late night yesterday, where all the embassies are located, and took part in the protest holding blank paper to express their discontent and acknowledge the censorship. Among other slogans, they called for the release of protesters in Shanghai who were arrested earlier. Protesters in Shanghai again clashed with police last night as protests have flared and spread to several cities and universities which started in response to the anger after a deadly fire killed 10 people in Urumqi, Xinjiang apparently due to strict lockdowns. This wave of civil disobedience is unprecedented in mainland China since President Xi Jinping assumed power a decade ago, as frustration mounts over his signature zero-COVID policy.
Protesters also took to the streets in the cities of Wuhan and Chengdu, while students on numerous university campuses around China gathered to demonstrate over the weekend.
A fire on Thursday at a residential high-rise building in the city of Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region, triggered protests after videos of the incident posted on social media led to accusations that lockdowns were a factor in the blaze that killed 10 people. Urumqi officials held a news conference on Saturday to deny COVID measures had hampered escape and rescue efforts.
Many of Urumqi’s four million residents have been under some of the country’s longest lockdowns, barred from leaving their homes for as long as 100 days.