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China experiences unprecedented outburst of anger over zero Covid policy

From Urumqi (Xinjiang) to Shanghai, from Canton to Zhengzhou (Henan), from Beijing to Nanjing (Jiangsu), tens of thousands of people have, in one form or another, participated in collective demonstrations in China in recent days. .

In Beijing just before the Communist Party Congress, a man staged his anger, brandishing a banner hostile to Xi Jinping, knowing full well that he was going to be arrested a few minutes later. On November 24, it was the turn of a resident of Chongqing to publicly denounce the policy followed by proclaiming in the middle of the street: “There is only one disease in the world: lack of freedom and poverty”. These movements of anger have, despite censorship, been relayed by tens of millions of Internet users. Unheard of since the occupation of Tiananmen Square in June 1989.

Even if they take very diverse forms, these demonstrations are all linked to the zero Covid policy. While the Xinjiang region (where a large Uighur population lives) has been almost cut off from the rest of China for about three months and millions of inhabitants are confined there, the death in the capital Urumqi of ten people Thursday, November 24 in a building on fire which the firefighters could not access prompted several hundred residents to protest in front of the town hall against the excesses of confinement.

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“A spark can set the whole plain on fire”

While the Chinese are generally relatively unconcerned about the fate of the Uighurs, this news item scandalizes the whole country. It was to pay tribute to the victims on Saturday, November 26 that dozens of young Shanghainese gathered, before being quickly joined by hundreds of people in what became a very political demonstration. In Nanjing, communication students brandished simple white sheets on Saturday in tribute to the victims of the fire, drawing the wrath of a university official, who threatened: “You will pay for what you did today”. In Beijing, this Sunday, hundreds of students from Tsinghua University – where Xi Jinping studied – sang the International and demanded more freedom.

In Shanghai, dozens of young people gathered to pay tribute to the victims of the Urumqi fire on Saturday 26 November.
Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers China: in Shanghai, hundreds of young people demonstrate against the zero Covid policy after the tragedy in Urumqi

These movements follow the anger of the workers of Foxconn, the famous subcontractor of Apple who protested both against the absence of bonuses which had been promised to them but also against the anti-Covid policy of the company. A social movement which did not lead to a political claim.

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