SHANGHAI – Security services were out in force All ChinaTuesday was the day of major cities in which it appeared that nationwide violence had been contained protests For political freedoms and an end the Covid lockdowns
The weekend was a test for the country’s leadership. protests Not seen in Jahrzehntes of anger at the unrelenting lockdowns fueled deep-rooted frustration with the country’s political system.
Last week saw a terrible fire in Urumqi was the capital of the northwestern Xinjiang region. This was what sparked the protesters to take to the streets. in Cities around China.
Demonstrators claimed Covid-19 restrictions were responsible for the slowdown in rescue efforts. The government denies these claims. “forces with ulterior motives” It is possible to connect the fire with the Covid strict controls.
Protesters have held up blank papers to signify the censorship to the which the world’s biggest country is subjected.
By Tuesday evening, a heavy police Many officers were seen returning from Shanghai’s streets, which was drenched in rain. protests An AFP reporter reported that there were even calls for the resignation President Xi Jinping.
An extensive effort by police To stop passersby from taking photos of the protest site, they also added that the police had tapered it down. One officer even told AFP that it “depends on the nature of the photo” However, there was no blanket ban in place.
But, the frustration with zero Covid was palpable.
“The (zero-Covid) policies now — they’re just too strict. They kill more people than Covid,” One 17-year old passerby asked for AFP to identify him only as Ray.
He claimed he was surrounded by them. police When passing through the area.
AFP reporters in Beijing saw a few unmarked and marked items police There were no signs of protesters or vehicles at the intersection near the Asian Games Village. A demonstration was planned for Tuesday night.
Protesters were likely kept away by freezing temperatures of minus nine degrees Celsius (15.8 degree Fahrenheit).
People who have attended weekend rallies in Monday’s statement from the Chinese capital revealed that law enforcement officers had called them demanding information regarding their movements.
However, some rallies took place elsewhere on Tuesday night.
Over a dozen people led the crowd at Hong Kong’s oldest university. in Chanting slogans like “give me liberty or give me death”Just days after A similar solidarity protest led school officials to call the police.
“We are not foreign forces, we are Chinese citizens. China should have different voices,” One woman shouted while another held a placard that mourned the victims of Urumqi’s fire.
One Chinese student said to AFP that he was concerned about being arrested under Hong Kong’s increasingly draconian political climate. But he felt the need. “to keep up the spirit of resistance”.
And in A witness in Shenzhen, a neighboring Chinese city, told AFP that they saw a heavyweight. police Your presence in HuaqiangbeiA busy shopping area in The city’s downtown after Rumours of protests Distributed via social media
Around 150 police They claimed that officers were seen within 500m (1,640ft) of Huaqiang Road, along with scores of blacks. police vans.
ChinaDue to the strict control of information, and continual travel restrictions, it has been difficult for authorities to verify protestor numbers in this vast country.
The rallies witnessed over the weekend, however, are rare. in ChinaAuthorities are severly cracking down on any opposition to the central government.
The White House announced Monday that Joe Biden, President of the United States, is closely monitoring unrest.
Britain summoned China’s ambassador on Tuesday in London for a rebuke after A BBC journalist covering the story was allegedly assaulted and arrested. protests in Shanghai.
Solidarity protests They have also sprung up all over the globe.
“Officials are borrowing the pretext of Covid, but using excessively strict lockdowns to control China’s population,” One Chinese participant, 21 years old in A Washington protestor, Chen, said that Chen was the only one who could be identified to AFP.
“They disregarded human lives and caused many to die in vain,” He said.
ChinaThe leaders of the’s are committed towards zero-Covid. This compels local governments in their area to impose snap lockdowns, quarantine orders, or limit freedom to movement. in Respond to minor outbreaks
But there are signs that some local authorities are taking steps to relax some of the rules and dampen the unrest — and that central authorities may be seeking a path out This is the rigid policy.
China’s National Health Commission (NHC) announced on Tuesday a renewed effort to expand low vaccination rates among the elderly — long seen as a key obstacle to relaxing zero-Covid.
Many worry that the country’s opening could lead to a flurry of people not being fully immunized. ChinaHealthcare system in the United States and more than one million deaths annually.
NHC officials said that 65.8 percent are fully vaccinated for people aged over 80.
China The FDA has yet to approve mRNA vaccinations for public use, even though they have been shown to be more efficient.
NHC also stated that local efforts were encouraged “inconsistent with national policies” A “great impact on people’s work and life”And warned that “those who cause serious consequences will be held accountable in accordance with laws and regulation”.
But it didn’t suggest any change in Policy was already in place.