Home News The Zero Covid policy is putting China under pressure

The Zero Covid policy is putting China under pressure

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Lockdown protests broke out on Sunday in Shanghai, several universities in Beijing and other cities across China, as anger mounts over the country’s harsh “zero Covid” policy for nearly three years.

A video widely circulated on the Internet, geotagged by AFP in Shanghai, shows some protesters shouting “Xi Jinping, resign! » And also for attacking the Chinese Communist Party, a very rare display of hostility against the president and the regime in the country’s economic capital, he was subjected at the beginning of the year to an exhausting two-month imprisonment.

sequel after announcement

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The protest took place at dawn on Wolumukhi Street – the Mandarin name for the city of Urumqi in Xinjiang (west), where ten people were killed in a fire on Thursday. Many posts circulating on social networks in China accuse the anti-Covid measures of exacerbating this tragedy by slowing down the arrival of relief.

Strong police presence

A person who participated in the protests in Shanghai told AFP, on condition of anonymity, that he had arrived around 2 a.m. for the rally. “One group of mourners laid flowers on the sidewalk, and another group chanted slogans.”said this witness.

“Shanghai is no better than Pyongyang”: in China, the scourge of the “Zero Covid” policy

“There were some minor scuffles but in general the police action was civil.”is completed. “It’s crazy to know that in these circumstances, there are still so many brave people who stand out.”Hoot.

A video clip filmed by a witness showed a large crowd shouting while waving white papers – symbolizing censorship – in front of several police cordons. Several witnesses reported that security forces took away at least two people.

sequel after announcement

On Sunday, the neighborhood was quiet again, with a strong police presence. An AFP reporter saw people carrying flowers as the police approached and left.

events at the university

Several hundred students from Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University also demonstrated on their campuses on Sunday, according to an eyewitness interviewed by AFP and photos posted on social media.

At 11:30 a.m. (03:30 GMT), the students started holding up banners at the entrance to the canteen. Then more and more people joined them. Now there are between 200 and 300 people. We sang the national and international anthems and chanted “Freedom Triumphs”.This student told AFP.

“We sang the national and international anthem, and chanted: Freedom will triumph,” “No PCR tests, we want food,” “No to imprisonment, we want freedom.”another witness said. Online videos showed a crowd in front of the university canteen, gathered around the speaker, who shouted: “It’s not a normal life, we’ve had enough. Our life has never been like this!”

sequel after announcement

Another video apparently taken from the same location shows the students screaming “Democracy and the rule of law, freedom of expression”but it was quickly removed from the Internet.

The witness told AFP that the deputy secretary of the Communist Party at the university was talking to the students, and that many had begun to leave. He added that the police were not yet present at the scene.

nightlife

Vigils to commemorate the Urumqi victims were held at other universities across the country, including the prestigious Peking University, according to a student who attended.

According to this witness, slogans are anti-politics “Zero Covid” It was painted on the wall of this university. Protesters began to gather on Saturday evening around midnight on campus, and the crowd reached between 100 and 200 people around two o’clock in the morning.

sequel after announcement

‘I heard people shouting: No to covid testing, yes to freedom’He showed photos and video clips to AFP confirming his statements.

Videos on social networks also showed an important vigil at the Nanjing Institute of Communication (East) where participants also waved white papers. Other videos, whose authenticity AFP could not confirm, showed other small protests in Xi’an (center), Guangzhou (south) and Wuhan (center).

The authorities were quick to restrict online discussions about the protests and delete videos.

Confinement and quarantine

Weary is growing in China against the tough policy to fight the epidemic. Sporadic and sometimes violent protests have already erupted in several other cities in recent days, including the world’s largest iPhone factory in downtown Zhengzhou, as well as in Urumqi after the fire.

sequel after announcement

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Despite the many vaccines available, and unlike the rest of the world, the Asian country continues to impose mass restrictions as soon as the slightest case appears, to quarantine people who test positive in centers and to require quasi-PCR tests. – Daily newspapers for access to public places.

A number of high-profile cases in which emergency services have allegedly been slowed down by health restrictions, with dire consequences, have fueled discontent.

China reported 39,506 cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, a daily record still very low compared to numbers recorded elsewhere in the world at the height of the pandemic.

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