Home News Protests erupt across China in unprecedented challenge to Xi Jinping's zero-Covid policy – CNN

Protests erupt across China in unprecedented challenge to Xi Jinping's zero-Covid policy – CNN

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Protests erupt across the country China Throughout the weekend, including at universities and in Shanghai, hundreds of people chanted “Resign, Xi Jinping! Communist Party, surrender!”

a deadly fire Ten people were killed and nine injured on Thursday at an apartment complex in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, as video emerged that appeared to suggest lockdown measures delayed the arrival of firefighters. sparked public outrage. Victim.

From the financial hub of Shanghai to the capital, Beijing, China’s metropolises have gathered to mourn those killed in the Xinjiang fires, speak out against zero coronavirus, and call for freedom and democracy. rice field. On dozens of college campuses, students held demonstrations and put up protest posters. In many parts of the country, residents of lockdown areas have taken down barriers and taken to the streets. Massive anti-lockdown protests sweep Urumqi on friday night.

such extensive scenes of anger and defiance – some of which lasted until early Monday morning – Very rare in China, where the ruling Communist Party ruthlessly cracks down on any expression of dissent. But three years after the pandemic, many people have been pushed to the brink by government policies. constant use Lockdowns, Covid testing and quarantines, as well as increasingly stringent censorship and a continued onslaught of personal liberties.

Combined with the gradual tightening of restrictions in recent months, a series of tragic deaths Accused of overzealous control crackdowns, the problem came to a head.

This outrage has led to notable defiance in Shanghai, where many of its 25 million residents harbor deep resentment over the government’s zero-Covid policy after undergoing a two-month lockdown in the spring.

Late Saturday night, hundreds of residents gathered for a candlelight mourning rally on Urumqi Road, which is named after the city, to mourn the victims of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region fire. account.

Surrounding a makeshift monument of candles, flowers and placards, the crowd held up blank papers, traditionally a symbolic protest against censorship, ‘We need human rights, we need freedom’. chanted.

In multiple videos seen by CNN, people could be heard yelling demanding that China’s President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party “resign”. The crowd also chanted, “We don’t want Covid tests, we want freedom!” And “I don’t want dictatorship, I want democracy!”

Some videos show people singing China’s national anthem and the socialist movement’s standard Internationale while holding banners protesting the country’s extremely draconian pandemic measures.

Witnesses said a line of police officers, initially watching from outside, began to move, pushing back and dividing the crowd around 3 a.m., sparking a tense confrontation with protesters.

Witnesses told CNN that they saw several people arrested and hauled into police vehicles next to the makeshift memorial shortly after 4:30 a.m. According to eyewitnesses, the protests gradually disbanded before dawn.

On Sunday afternoon, hundreds of Shanghai residents returned to the scene to continue their protests, despite a large police presence and roadblocks.

The video showed hundreds of people yelling “Let them go!” at an intersection. Demanded the police to release the detained demonstrators.

crowd cry

This time, police took a tougher approach, making arrests more quickly and aggressively, and dispersing the crowd.

In one video, a man with a bunch of chrysanthemums gave a speech as he walked across a pedestrian crossing, but a police officer tried to stop him.

“We need to be braver! Is it against the law to have flowers?” he asked the crowd, who shouted “No!” in reply.

“We Chinese need to be braver!” he said to the applause of the crowd. “Many of us were arrested yesterday. Don’t they have jobs and families? We shouldn’t be afraid!”

The man struggled as a dozen officers pushed him into a patrol car as an angry crowd yelled, “Let him go!” Then he rushed to his car.

Other videos show chaotic scenes of police pushing, dragging and beating protesters.

Hundreds of people yelled “triad” at police in reference to local criminal gangs after one protester was violently dragged away in the evening, according to a livestream.

Police officers block Wulumuqi Street in Shanghai on Sunday.

By Sunday evening, mass demonstrations had spread across Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Wuhan, with thousands of residents demanding not only an end to Covid restrictions, but, more alarmingly, political freedoms.

In Beijing, hundreds of young people demonstrated until midnight Monday. At first, small crowds gathered along the Liangma River to mourn the victims of the Xinjiang fires, but they gradually grew in size and eventually marched along the city’s Third Ring Road.

People chanted slogans against Corona Zero, expressed support for protesters detained in Shanghai and called for greater civil liberties. I was.

Protesters in Beijing hold a kandal at a demonstration on Sunday night.

A protester speaking to CNN’s Selina Wang at the protest said she was shocked by the turnout.

“All conscientious Chinese should be here. They don’t have to express their opinion, but I hope they agree with us,” he said.

In the southwestern metropolis of Chengdu, a large crowd demonstrated along a busy riverbank, according to protesters interviewed by CNN and videos circulating online.

The rally began with a minute’s silence to commemorate the victims of the Xinjiang fires, then turned political as the crowd, which numbered in the hundreds, grew in size.

“No dictatorship!” cried the crowd. “We don’t want a ruler for life. We don’t want an emperor!”

Protesters hold up blank papers and chant slogans as they march to protest in Beijing on Sunday night.

In the southern city of Guangzhou, hundreds of people gathered at a public square in Haizhu District. It is the epicenter of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the city that has been in lockdown for weeks.

“We don’t want lockdown, we want freedom! Freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of art, freedom of movement, personal freedom. Give us back freedom!”

Across China, protests have also erupted on university campuses, particularly politically sensitive to the Communist Party, given the history of the 1989 student-led Tiananmen Square democracy movement.

About 100 students gathered around protest slogans painted on the walls of Beijing’s famous Peking University early Sunday morning. He said he wore a jacket to hide the protest sign.

Security guards try to hide protest slogans against zero Covid on the campus of Peking University in Beijing.

A message written in red paint that reads, “No to lockdown, yes to freedom, no to coronavirus testing, yes to food,” is a protest at a Beijing overpass in October. reflects the slogan of power.

Peking University’s protest slogan reads, “Open your eyes to see the world. Dynamic Zero Covid is a lie.”

The student said security guards later covered the slogan with black paint.

Students at the China Communication University in Nanjing attend an all-night rally on Saturday night to mourn the victims of the Xinjiang fires.

The students then gathered to sing The Internationale before being dispersed by teachers and security.

In the eastern province of Jiangsu, at least dozens of students from the China Communication University in Nanjing gathered on Saturday night to mourn those killed in the Xinjiang fires. The video shows the students holding up blank sheets of paper and cell phone flashlights.

In one video, university officials were heard warning students to “pay for what you did today.”

Hundreds of students from Beijing's Tsinghua University gathered on Sunday to protest zero Covid and censorship.

“So will you, so will your country,” cried the student.

Campus protests continued on Sunday. At Tsinghua University, another elite university in Beijing, hundreds of students gathered in the square to protest zero Covid and censorship.

Videos and images circulating on social media show students holding up a blank sheet of paper and chanting, “Democracy and the rule of law! Freedom of expression!”

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