China, growing unrest for the zero-covid policy: protesters call for Xi Jinping to resign

Elizabeth Smith

Days of protests against zero-covid restrictions and lockdown in China. In Shanghai there were clashes between police and protesters, whose shouted slogans included: ‘Xi Jinping, resign’, ‘Communist Party, resign’.

Phrases that already give a pretty clear idea of how the citizens’ patience for the Chinese Communist Party’s zero-Covid policy, and hence the harsh lockdowns imposed, is running out.

Protests in China against the zero-covid policy are spreading

Criticism of the government and president may lead to severe sanctions, but this does not calm the anger. This is the third consecutive day that protests have continued.

Protests have also spread to Beijing, Wuhan – the Chinese city symbol of the epidemic, where hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets – and Chengdu.

After yesterday’s fire in Urumqi, Xinjiang, where 10 people died due to delays in rescue caused by anti-Covid and lockdown rules (for which people blame the authorities), some protesters in Shanghai held empty white banners. While others lit candles and laid flowers for the victims.

In their memory in Beijing a few hundred people, mostly young people, also gathered along the Liangma River in the evening. The participants hold a vigil in spite of the anti-pandemic restrictions.

China, BBC journalist arrested and beaten during anti-Covid protests

A BBC journalist in China, Ed Lawrence, was arrested and beaten while covering anti-Covid demonstrations in Shanghai on Sunday, November 27. 

The British government protested, calling the actions of the Chinese police ‘unacceptable’ and ‘worrying’. On the radio, Business Minister Grant Shapps said: ‘Whatever happens, freedom of the press should be sacrosanct’.

London demanded an explanation from Beijing about the case. The Chinese authorities claim that Ed Lawrence did not identify himself as a reporter. 

The British media group called the Beijing regime’s zero Covid policy draconian. “The BBC is very concerned about the treatment of our reporter Ed Lawrence who was arrested and handcuffed while covering protests in Shanghai,” said a spokesman for the group.

Read also: Historic meeting between Biden and Xi Jinping: “Competition, but never conflict”

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