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

Protests erupt across China in unprecedented challenge to Xi Jinping's zero-covid policy
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Protests leak through Porcelain, including at universities and in Shanghai, where hundreds chanted “Resign, Xi Jinping! Stand down, Communist Party!” in an unprecedented show of defiance against the country’s strict and increasingly costly zero-Covid policy.

A deadly fire at an apartment block in the western Xinjiang region of the country’s far west that killed 10 people and injured nine on Thursday appears to have fueled anger as video surfaced that appeared to suggest the measures closures delayed firefighters reaching the victims.

Protests broke out in cities and universities across China on Saturday and early Sunday, according to social media videos and witness accounts.

Demonstrators stand next to protest banners in Shanghai, China on Saturday, November 2, 2019. 26, 2022.

Videos that circulated widely on Chinese social media show hundreds of people in downtown Shanghai on Saturday lighting candles to mourn those killed in the Xinjiang fire.

Later, the crowd held up blank sheets of paper, in what is traditionally a symbolic protest against censorship, and chanted: “Human rights are needed, freedom is needed.”

In multiple videos viewed by CNN, people could be heard chanting demands that China’s leader Xi Jinping and the Communist Party “resign.” The crowd also chanted “I don’t want the Covid test, I want freedom!” and “I don’t want dictatorship, I want democracy!”

Some videos show people singing China’s national anthem and The Internationale, a standard of the socialist movement, while holding banners protesting Beijing’s exceptionally strict anti-pandemic measures.

A security guard tries to cover up a protest slogan against covid zero at the Peking University campus in Beijing.

Protests have also broken out in the capital city, Beijing. A student from the prestigious Peking University told CNN that when he arrived at the protest site around 1 a.m. Sunday local time, there were around 100 students there and security guards were wearing jackets to cover a painted protest slogan. on the wall.

“Say no to confinement, yes to freedom. No to covid test, yes to food,” read the message written in red paint, echoing the slogan of a protest that took place on a Beijing flyover in October, just days before a key Communist Party meeting. in which Xi secured a third term in power.

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

The student said that security guards then covered the slogan in black paint.

Later, the students came together to sing The Internationale before being dispersed by teachers and security guards.

Students from the Communication University of China, Nanjing, gather for a vigil on Saturday night to mourn the victims of the Xinjiang fire.

In the eastern province of Jiangsu, dozens of students from the Communication University of China, Nanjing, gathered to mourn those who died in the Xinjiang fire. Videos show students holding sheets of white paper and cell phone flashlights.

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

“You too, and so does the country,” a student yelled back.

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