Protests against Xi Jinping's lockdowns spread to Xinjiang.
Clashes with guards in protective suits. Demands for end to restrictions. Anti-Covid-19 health measures blamed for the deaths of 10 people yesterday in a building fire. Demonstrations multiply across the country. In Chongqing a man arrested for demanding freedom in public.
Beijing (AsiaNews) - Images of protests in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region against Xi Jinping's "zero-Covid" policy have been circulating on Chinese social media since last night. People can be seen confronting guards in protective suits shouting slogans such as "end the lockdown" and "rise up, those who do not want to be slaves," the latter a verse from the national anthem.
The demonstrations appear to have taken place in the regional capital Urumqui, and come after ten people died yesterday in a fire at a local apartment building. The authorities have received much criticism: according to part of the population, the tragedy could have been avoided without the restrictive sanitary measures, which would have hindered the victims' escape.
Expressions of anger against the Covid-19 zeroing policy are multiplying in the country. Chinese social networks have shared in large numbers a video of a man from Chongqing calling on the government to admit its mistakes in handling the pandemic. He can be heard shouting, "There is only one disease in the world and that is being both poor and not having freedom. We now have both."
The demonstrator was immediately taken away by police, as happened to the lone protester in Beijing who had publicly attacked Xi on the eve of the 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress. Measures to contain the pandemic have become a socio-economic issue in the country. In recent days workers at Foxconn in Zhengzhou (Henan) clashed with a group of guards demanding payment of their wages: they had demanded to leave the factory because of the harsh conditions of the Covid quarantine.
In recent weeks Guangzhou (Guangdong) has also seen street demonstrations that were later blacked out on the web. Significant protests then took place in Tibet, not to mention those of the citizens of Shanghai, forced into quarantine in their homes and without food for days in the spring.
Relaxations to health restrictions announced last week by the government are already a memory. Many Chinese cities are reporting spikes in infections prompting authorities to immediately resort to lockdowns, quarantines and mass swabbing.