The populace of China seems to have had enough as protests have started to kick off all over the communist nation due to its draconian COVID policies, with at least one such protest turning quite violent.
These protests have only gotten worse as of this past weekend throughout many of the major cities in China such as Shanghai, Wuhan, and Beijing. As explained via various media reports, one protest in Shanghai eventually broke down into nothing but chaos as police intensely fought with protesters prior to making ample use of pepper spray on the crowds. These protests kicked off seemingly in response to the new “zero COVID” policies being pushed by the Chinese Communist Party government throughout the course of the pandemic.
“I’m here because I love my country, but I don’t love my government … I want to be able to go out freely, but I can’t. Our COVID-19 policy is a game and is not based on science or reality,” stated on Shanghai protester to reporters from Reuters.
These protests reportedly kicked off on Thursday in the wake of ten people being killed in a fire that broke out inside a residential high-rise building located in the capital city of Xinjiang autonomous region, Urumqi. Videos of the ordeal that were posted to social media caused a large number of accusations that the draconian lockdowns ended up being the reason for the deaths, as reported by both Reuters and the New York Times. Residents in the area have been forced to lock down entirely and have been prevented from even leaving their homes for periods of close to 100 days at a time, stated Reuters.
“We just want our basic human rights. We can’t leave our homes without getting a test. It was the accident in Xinjiang that pushed people too far,” explained another protester to Reuters.
As reported by both Reuters and the Associated Press, a crowd of protesters showed up on Saturday in Shanghai along Wulumuqi Road, named after the city of Urumqi, to take part in a candlelight vigil in memory of the needless victims of the fire. At which point roughly 100 police officers gathered and showed up in order to stop demonstrators from gathering.
At some point, Police officers in the area were ordered to and carried out use of, large amounts of pepper spray against the crowd of almost 300 protesters. A witness of the event stated to the AP that one of his friends had been beaten badly, and another pair were dosed with pepper spray. he went on to add those police officers stomped on his feet as he attempted to stop them from dragging off his friends.
On the other end of the spectrum, a peaceful protest reportedly took place in memory of the Urumqi victims on the campus of Tsinghua University in Beijing, which is known to be the alma mater of the current leader of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping. Protesters were also reported to have gathered at the Communication University of China in Nanjing, Peking University in Beijing, and the Wuhan University of Technology.
In a large number of these cases, the demonstrators reportedly targeted Xi directly with their ire. “Down with the Chinese Communist Party, down with Xi Jinping,” chanted demonstrators at events held this past Saturday in Shanghai, as reported by Reuters.
Both the Communist Party and China as a whole have been receiving an intense level of pressure internationally to cut back their draconian “zero COVID” restrictions that have reduced the number of COVID cases a bit, but slo resulted in very severe damage to the nation’s economy.
“Under the zero-COVID strategy, China weathered the initial impact of the pandemic well, allowing the economy to recover swiftly from the early-2020 lockdowns and to expand the global supply of medical goods and durable goods significantly at a critical time for the global economy,” explained International Monetary Fund First Deputy Managing Director Gita Gopinath via a release. “However, China’s growth has since slowed and remains under pressure amid recurring COVID outbreaks, deep challenges in the property sector, and slowing global demand.”