Daily Management Review

Demonstrations Against Covid Restrictions Erupting Throughout China


Demonstrations Against Covid Restrictions Erupting Throughout China
Rare uprisings happened all across China during the weekend as people let out their displeasure with the zero-Covid policy of the Chinese government.
The unrest occurred as infections increased, necessitating increased local Covid controls, while a central government policy change earlier this month raised hopes of a gradual easing. Controls have slowed the economy for nearly three years. Youth unemployment is approaching 20%.
The Communist Party's official newspaper, People's Daily, published a front-page op-ed Monday about the need to make Covid controls more targeted and effective, while removing those that should be removed.
Many apartment communities in Beijing were successful in convincing local management that there was no legal basis for a lockdown.
This happened to come after an increasing number of residences in the capital city disallowed residents from leaving on Friday.
Municipal authorities stated on Sunday that temporary movement restrictions should not last more than 24 hours.
According to videos widely shared on social media, students staged protests at many universities over the last three days, while people took to the streets in parts of Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, and Lanzhou, among other cities. All of the videos could not be independently verified.
Protests began in Urumqi, Xinjiang, on Friday after a building fire killed ten people the day before in an area that had been closed down for months. The social media narrative focused on how Covid controls prevented residents and rescue workers from saving lives.
Although it is unclear what caused the deaths, local authorities later declared that the Covid risk had passed and began relaxing controls.
On Saturday, a vigil for the Urumqi victims turned into a protest against Covid and the ruling Communist Party of China in Shanghai. Unverified videos also showed calls for President Xi Jinping's resignation.
Social media videos showed police arresting some protesters.
Many of the protesters were holding blank sheets of white paper. Some have performed the national anthem as well as "The Internationale," a socialist song associated with the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party.
Notably, protesters were also seen on social media on Sunday at the prestigious Tsinghua University.
It was unclear whether the protests reached a significant scale in a country of 1.4 billion people, or whether a diverse demographic took part.