Protests erupt across China in unprecedented challenge to Xi Jinping’s zero-Covid policy


Beijing
CNN

In universities and in Shanghai, hundreds of people chanted, “Resign! Xi Qifeng Get off the Communist Party.” It was an unprecedented show of defiance against the country’s stricter and more costly Covid-19 policy.

Firefighters appear to be delaying the sanctions as a bid to quell public anger after an apartment fire in Urumqi, the capital of the westernmost region of Xinjiang, killed 10 people and injured nine on Thursday. It goes to the victims.

In China’s biggest cities, from the financial hub Shanghai to the capital Beijing, residents gathered to mourn the victims of the Xinjiang fires, speak out against Covid-Zero and call for freedom and democracy. On dozens of university campuses, students protested or put up protest posters. The mass anti-lockdown protests that tore through Urumqi on Friday night saw residents of locked-down neighborhoods break down barricades and take to the streets across the country.

Widespread scenes of anger and defiance – Some things go into the early hours of Monday morning. This is especially rare in China, where the ruling Communist Party violently cracks down on all dissent. But in the three years since the outbreak, government lockdowns, Ever-tightening censorship of Covid tests and quarantines and the ongoing assault on personal liberties have pushed many people to the brink.

The lifting of restrictions in recent months has brought matters to a head, coupled with heartbreaking deaths blamed on overzealous policing.

Anger has sparked extraordinary acts of defiance in Shanghai, where many of its 25 million residents are deeply dissatisfied with the Zero-Covid policy after a two-month lockdown in the spring.

Hundreds of residents gathered on Urumqi Street, named after the city to mourn the victims of the Xinjiang fires, late Saturday night, according to an eyewitness circulating on Chinese social media. Account.

temporary memorial candles; Surrounded by flowers and signs, the crowd held blank white papers and held a traditional anti-censorship protest that read: “Human rights are needed; “Freedom is needed,” they shouted.

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Saturday, November 26, 2022  Protesters hold signs and stand in protest in Shanghai, China.

In several videos seen by CNN, people can be heard shouting for China’s leader Xi Jinping and the Communist Party to “step down.” The crowd also chanted, “We don’t want to test for Covid, we want freedom.” “I don’t want a dictator, We want democracy.”

In some videos, people sing China’s national anthem and The Internationale, the standard of the socialist movement, and hold signs protesting the country’s draconian anti-pandemic measures.

According to a witness, police officers who were watching from outside began entering to disperse the crowd around 3 a.m. and came face-to-face with the protesters.

At about 4:30 a.m., a witness told CNN that he saw several people being taken into a police car next to the makeshift memorial. A witness said the protests gradually dispersed before dawn.

On Sunday afternoon, hundreds of Shanghai residents returned to the site to continue their protest despite a heavy police presence and roadblocks.

Videos were shown of hundreds of people at an intersection chanting “Free the people.” They demanded the release of the protesters who were detained by the police.

The crowd shouted.

This time, the police took a tougher approach and moved swiftly to arrest and disperse the crowd.

In a video, A man holding a chrysanthemum made a speech while walking in a crosswalk as a police officer tried to stop him.

“We need to be braver! Are we breaking the law by holding flowers? “No!” was the reply.

“We Chinese need to be brave!” He spoke to the applause of the crowd. “Many people were arrested yesterday. They don’t have a family because they don’t have a job? We shouldn’t be afraid!”

The man rioted as more than a dozen police officers shoved him into a police car as an angry crowd chanted, “Let him go.” Then ran to the car.

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Other videos show police pushing; Complicated scenes of dragging and beating protesters are shown.

In the evening, after a protester was violently dragged away, hundreds of people chanted “triads” at the police, a reference to local criminal gangs, according to a live broadcast.

Police officers blocked off Shanghai's Urumqi Road on Sunday.

On Sunday evening, Beijing Chengdu Mass protests have spread in Guangzhou and Wuhan, with thousands of residents demanding not only an end to Covid restrictions but also political freedoms.

In Beijing, hundreds of mostly young people protested in the city’s commercial center for a few hours on Monday. The crowd grew in size along the Liangma River and eventually marched along the city’s Third Circuit to hold a vigil for Xinjiang fire victims.

People chanted slogans against Zero-Covid, supported protesters detained in Shanghai and demanded more civil liberties. “We want freedom. We want freedom!” The crowd chanted under the bridge.

A protester holds a lantern during protests in Beijing on Sunday night.

Speaking to CNN’s Selina Wang at the protest, one protester said she was surprised by the turnout.

“Every conscientious Chinese should be here. We don’t have to express their opinions, but we hope we can stand with them,” he said.

In the southwestern city of Chengdu, a popular food and shopping district, a large crowd gathered to protest, according to CNN and a protester interviewed in videos circulating online.

The gathering began with a minute’s silence to mourn the victims of the Xinjiang fire, and later the crowd swelled to hundreds and turned political.

“Against tyranny,” the crowd chanted. “I don’t want to rule all my life. We don’t want emperors.” The thinly veiled reference to Xi, who began his third term last month, was heralded.

Protesters marched in Beijing on Sunday night, carrying blank papers and chanting slogans.

Hundreds gathered in People’s Square in Haizhu district, the epicenter of the city’s current outbreak of Covid-19, after weeks of lockdown in southern Guangzhou.

“We don’t want lockdowns, we want freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of the arts, freedom of movement, personal freedom. Give me back my freedom!” The crowd shouted.

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Across China, the student-led Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 have had a history of pro-democracy protests, particularly on university campuses that are politically sensitive to the Communist Party.

Around 100 protesting students gathered on a wall at the prestigious Peking University in Beijing early Sunday morning. A student told CNN that when security guards arrived at the scene around 1 a.m., they were wearing protest sign jackets.

A security guard tries to cover up an anti-Covid Zero slogan on the campus of Peking University in Beijing.

“It’s not about locking up.” Yes to freedom Not a covid test, For food,” read a message written in red paint, echoing the chants of a Beijing bridge protest in October, just days before a key Communist Party meeting as Xi took office for a third term as president. Power.

“Open your eyes and see the world; “Active zero-Covid is a lie,” read the protest slogan at Peking University.

The student said he was later covered in black paint by security guards.

University of Communication of China  Students in Nanjing gathered Saturday evening to mourn the victims of the Xinjiang fire.

Later, students gathered to sing The Internationale and were dispersed by teachers and security guards.

In eastern China’s Jiangsu province, at least a dozen students from the University of Communications gathered Saturday evening to mourn those killed in the Xinjiang fire. In the videos, students are holding white sheets of paper and cellphone flashlights.

In a video, A university official can be heard warning students: “You will pay for what you did today.”

Hundreds of students at Tsinghua University in Beijing gathered on Sunday to protest against Covid-19 and censorship.

“So is your country,” shouted one student.

Protests on campus continued on Sunday. At Tsinghua University, a top university in Beijing, hundreds of students gathered on the square to protest against the lack of covid and censorship.

Videos and images circulating on social media showed students holding a white sheet of paper and chanting “democracy and rule of law”. Freedom of expression!”

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