In iPhone factory in central China. Thousands of workers clashed against riot police and tore down barricades.

Protesters broke out from locked-down buildings in Guangzhou to confront health workers, and ransacked food supplies.

Online, many Chinese protested against the authorities following the death of a 4-month old girl. Her father claimed that Covid restrictions delayed access to medical care.

As China’s The country is seeing growing discontent as the Covid rules are so harsh that they have been extended into their third year. For China’s Xi Jinping, China’s leader, said that the unrest was a test of his third, record-breaking term in power. It also underscores the urgent political issue of how he will lead China out the Covid era.

The most visible signs of frustration, desperation and desperation have been displayed in the last two weeks by the rare instances of defiance. This anger combined with the escalating cases of Covid in the country is a sign that winter is coming.

Officials had earlier this month stated that they would modify Covid restrictions in order to reduce the economic and financial disruptions. Many officials have resorted to using the same heavy-handed tactics to stop the spread of the virus, despite the recent surge in cases.

Whether Mr. Xi finds a middle ground is a reflection of his abilities. China’s status as the world’s factory floor and a major driver of global economic growth. Multinational companies have begun to look elsewhere for production.

“What we’re witnessing at Foxconn is the bankruptcy of ‘the China model,’” said Wu Qiang, a political analyst in Beijing, referring to the Taiwanese operator of the plant in central China that produces half of the world’s iPhones. “It’s the collapse of China’s image as a production powerhouse, as well as China’s relationship to globalization.”

Many will be watching to see if recent chaos at Foxconn’s plant spreads elsewhere. Apple warned, before this week’s riots at Foxconn’s plant, that a chaotic lockdown would have a negative impact on its sales. Analysts predicted that holiday sales would be affected by longer wait times. iPhone 14 Pro Max and 14 Pro Pro.

“If the government continues with its zero-Covid policy, Foxconn would only be the beginning. There is Foxconn today, but other factories will face similar situations,” Li Qiang, the founder and executive Director of China Labor Watch (a New York-based Chinese labor rights group), said.

The Foxconn workers were lashing out about a delay in the payment of bonuses as well as the Taiwanese assembler’s failure to properly isolate new workers from those who had tested positive. New hires were made after thousands fled Foxconn last month due to a Covid epidemic.

Four workers spoke out to The Times and said that thousands of workers clashed between riot police officers and health workers from Tuesday evening to Wednesday morning. Protesters destroyed barricades, stole food and hurled fencing at the authorities.

“We protested the whole day, from day to night,” Han Li, a Zhengzhou worker who joined the protests, said so. He claimed he felt deceived and that the bonus payments and living arrangements at the factory were not what he was promised. Mr. Han claimed that he witnessed workers being beaten up and injured.

Foxconn workers shared videos with The Times that showed them throwing steel beams at police in riot gear and protective suits. One video taken at dawn showed the aftermath. A motionless worker lay on the roadside while security personnel kicked and stomped on him. Another man was found lying on the road, his sweater and towel soaked.

Foxconn stated that the delayed bonuses were due to be paid in a statement. “a technical error” Its hiring system. Concerning violence, the company vowed that it would work with both employees and the government. “prevent similar accidents from happening again.”

According to an Apple spokesperson, the team in Zhengzhou was comprised of Apple employees. “reviewing the situation” We are working with Foxconn “to ensure their employees’ concerns are addressed.”

Foxconn promised Wednesday night $1,400 to workers who wanted to resign and free transportation home.

“It’s all tears,” On Thursday, Mr. Han stated. “Now I just want to get my compensation and go home.”

There are many ways to do it. China’s struggles are of Mr. Xi’s own making. China has held on to harsh realities “zero-Covid” While Covid infection is being eradicated, policies were adopted to combat it. However, vaccine efforts have been slow. Beijing has been pushing propaganda for tough controls for the past three years. They claim they are the only way to protect people’s lives. It also warned of the horrendous consequences of the virus’s uncontrolled spread in large parts of the rest of world.

Others have also raised concerns about the need to lock down. Millions of Chinese watched the World Cup in Qatar last week. They saw large numbers cheering on their favorite teams. Chinese social media users wrote messages mocking and envy as they compared their private lives to the loud celebrations on television.

One of the characters in Mr. Xi’s story is China’s He has been one of the most powerful leaders in decades and used severe punishments as well as heavy censorship to silence critics. This makes it particularly difficult for grievances to be voiced publicly, as was the case in Guangzhou last Wednesday, where throngs protested against being held captive for more than three weeks.

In the locked-down district of Haizhu, home to roughly 1.8 million people, the workers, many of whom toil for long hours and low pay in Guangzhou’s textile industry, rushed into the street to protest food shortages. They tore down fences as well as barricades. Videos posted online also showed another conflict between residents and police.

As cases continue to climb, the government’s pandemic prevention resources — which include food, hospital beds and quarantine facilities — have in some places been depleted, forcing workers to sleep on the streets or, in the case of Haizhu, in a tunnel, workers said.

Many people have been upset by the reports that Covid restrictions caused deaths. The death of a 3-year old boy in Lanzhou due to coronavirus restrictions prevented him being transported promptly to a hospital earlier this month drew a lot of anger and grief as well as renewed scrutiny about the costs of healthcare. “zero Covid.”

An online outcry was also created last week after the death of a 4-month old girl. Her father used Weibo (a Chinese social media platform similar to Twitter) to complain about delays in emergency response. Covid protocols prevented dispatchers from sending an ambulance. Responders refused to take the girl to a hospital because they were not authorized to. It took her 12 hours to get help.

“I hope the relevant departments will intervene, investigate a series of loopholes in epidemic prevention, inaction and irresponsibility, and seek justice for us ordinary people,” wrote Li Baoliang, the baby’s father. Authorities released the findings of an investigation into Sunday’s incident on Sunday. Although the government offered condolences for the family, it also blamed the tragedy upon the individual medical staff that it claimed lack a sense of responsibility.

Beneath Mr. Li’s online complaint, many pointed to the harms being done by policies designed to protect the public.

“What is taking people’s lives? Is it Covid?” Ask one commenter.