Home AsiaChina China Protests Latest News
Beijing and Shanghai were blanketed with security on Tuesday in the wake of nationwide rallies calling for political freedoms and an end to Covid lockdowns.

China’s major cities of Beijing and Shanghai were blanketed with security on Tuesday in the wake of nationwide rallies calling for political freedoms and an end to Covid lockdowns.

The country’s leadership faced a weekend of protests not seen in decades as anger over unrelenting lockdowns fuels deep-rooted frustration with its political system.

A deadly fire last week in Urumqi, the capital of the northwestern region of Xinjiang, was the catalyst for the wave of outrage, with protesters taking to the streets in cities around China.

The demonstrators said Covid-19 restrictions were to blame for hampering rescue efforts, claims the government has denied as it accused “forces with ulterior motives” of linking the fire deaths to the strict Covid controls.

Anger over lockdowns has widened to calls for political change, with protesters holding up blank sheets of paper to symbolise the censorship to which the world’s most populous country is subjected.

– ‘So many police’ –

More protests had been planned for Monday night but did not materialise. AFP journalists in Beijing and Shanghai noted a heavy police presence of hundreds of vehicles and officers on the streets.

People who had attended weekend rallies told AFP on Monday they had received phone calls from law enforcement officers demanding information about their movements.

In Shanghai, near a site where weekend protests saw bold calls for the resignation of President Xi Jinping, bar staff told AFP they had been ordered to close at 10:00 pm (1400 GMT) for “disease control”.

Small clusters of officers were deployed to metro exits near the protest site.

AFP journalists saw officers detaining four people throughout Monday, releasing one later, with a reporter counting 12 police cars within 100 metres along Wulumuqi street in Shanghai, the focal point of Sunday’s rally.

Frustration with zero-Covid remained palpable despite the overwhelming police deployment.

“The (zero-Covid) policies now -– they’re just too strict. They kill more people than Covid,” one 17-year-old passerby, who asked to be identified only as Ray, told AFP.

He said he had been surrounded by police when passing through the area.

A man can be heard in an audio recording shared with AFP asking for his address. In response, Ray insists law enforcement officers do not “have the right” to demand it.

Some rallies did go ahead elsewhere on Monday night.

In semi-autonomous Hong Kong, where mass democracy protests erupted in 2019, dozens gathered at the Chinese University to mourn the victims of the Urumqi fire.

“Don’t look away. Don’t forget,” protesters shouted.

In Hangzhou, just over 170 kilometres (105 miles) southwest of Shanghai, there was strict security and sporadic protests in the city’s downtown, with one attendee telling AFP that 10 people were detained.

“The atmosphere was disorderly. There were few people and we were separated. There were lots of police, it was chaos,” she said.

– ‘Many died in vain’ –

Such widespread rallies are exceptionally rare, with authorities harshly clamping down on all opposition to the central government.

But China’s strict control of information and continued travel curbs have made verifying protester numbers across the vast country challenging.

US President Joe Biden is monitoring the unrest, the White House said Monday.

Solidarity protests also mushroomed around the world.

“Officials are borrowing the pretext of Covid, but using excessively strict lockdowns to control China’s population,” one 21-year-old Chinese participant in a Washington protest, who gave only his surname, Chen, told AFP.

“They disregarded human lives and caused many to die in vain,” he said.

– ‘No longer afraid’ –

China’s leaders are committed to zero-Covid, which compels local governments to impose snap lockdowns and quarantine orders, and limit freedom of movement in response 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 authorities may be seeking a path out of the rigid policy.

Beijing has banned “the practice of barring building gates in closed-off residential compounds”, the official news agency Xinhua said on Sunday.

The practice has fuelled public anger as people found themselves locked in their homes during minor outbreaks.

China’s National Health Commission 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 fear that lifting the policy while swaths of the population remain not fully immunised could overwhelm China’s healthcare system and cause more than a million deaths.

Just 65.8 percent of people over 80 are fully vaccinated, NHC officials told a news conference.

China has also not yet approved mRNA vaccines, which are proven to be more effective, for public use.

They also said local efforts “inconsistent with national policies” had caused a “great impact on people’s work and life”, but did not suggest a change in policy was imminent.

You may also like

logo-white

Your Trusted Source for Capital Markets & Related News

© 2024 LiveTradingNews.com – For The Traders, By The Traders – All Right Reserved.

The information contained on this website shall not be construed as (i) an offer to purchase or sell, or the solicitation of an offer to purchase or sell, any securities or services, (ii) investment, legal, business or tax advice or an offer to provide such advice, or (iii) a basis for making any investment decision. An offering may only be made upon a qualified investor’s receipt not via this website of formal materials from the Knightsbridge an offering memorandum and subscription documentation (“offering materials”). In the case of any inconsistency between the information on this website and any such offering materials, the offering materials shall control. Securities shall not be offered or sold in any jurisdiction in which such offer or sale would be unlawful unless the requirements of the applicable laws of such jurisdiction have been satisfied. Any decision to invest in securities must be based solely upon the information set forth in the applicable offering materials, which should be read carefully by qualified investors prior to investing. An investment with Knightsbridge is not suitable or desirable for all investors; investors may lose all or a portion of the capital invested. Investors may be required to bear the financial risks of an investment for an indefinite period of time. Qualified investors are urged to consult with their own legal, financial and tax advisors before making any investment. Knightsbridge is a private investment firm that offers investment services to Qualified Investors, Members and Institutions ONLY. Qualified Investors are defined as individuals who have met those Qualifications in the relevant jurisdictions. Members are defined as individuals who have been accepted into the Knightsbridge membership program. Institutions are defined as entities such as banks, pension funds, and hedge funds. If you are not a Qualified Investor, Member or Institution, you are not eligible to invest with Knightsbridge. All investments involve risk, and there is no guarantee of profit. You may lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Knightsbridge is not a registered investment advisor, and this disclaimer should not be construed as investment advice. Please consult with a qualified financial advisor before making any investment decisions. By accessing this website, you agree to the terms of this disclaimer. Thank you for your interest in Knightsbridge.