Chinese police turn violent as COVID-19 lockdown protests sweep across country
Chinese protesters clash with police across the country as outrage grows over the Chinese Communist Party’s zero-Covid policy.
China’s COVID-19 authorities have moved tens of thousands of people into camps after testing positive and imposed draconian lockdown measures, even closing the doors of some people. Widespread protests are rare in China’s repressive political environment, and police are cracking down heavily on students and workers who dare to demonstrate.
Footage on social media appears to show police transporting protesters to cities across China. In Guangzhou, scores of officers were filmed messing with a group of protesters before pushing one man away and knocking him to the ground.
Other officers were photographed dragging another protester by the hands and feet in Shanghai.
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The protests themselves often reference China’s efforts to stifle dissent, with protesters holding blank pieces of paper to symbolize their inability to speak freely.
Officers reportedly used pepper spray to disperse an initial demonstration in Shanghai, but soon began making arrests when protesters returned. Authorities filled a bus with those they arrested, according to the Toronto Sun.
Footage allegedly filmed in Nanjing also showed officers fighting with groups of protesters, according to the Associated Press.
Some protesters have reportedly called for the CCP and leader Xi Jinping to resign.
The protests erupted in part because of a fire at an apartment building in China’s Xinjiang region that killed 10 people and injured several others. Citizens were outraged after reports suggested that COVID-19 lockdown measures had prevented first responders from responding to the fire.
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The fire broke out in the city of Urumqi and officials soon relaxed lockdown measures.
Late night demonstrations saw protesters tear down barriers and chant in the streets demanding an end to the other measures.
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Even the typically China-friendly World Health Organization has criticized the CCP’s zero-Covid policy, arguing earlier this year that it was “not sustainable.”