US embassy warning in China says blockades likely to intensify amid protests
The U.S. Embassy in China issued a statement Monday morning asking U.S. citizens in the country to “maintain a 14-day supply of medicine, bottled water and food for you and any members of your home”.
“Authorities in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have expanded restrictions on prevention and control measures for COVID-19 as outbreaks occur. These measures may include residential quarantines, mass testing, closures, transportation disruptions , confinements and possible family separation. Ambassador Burns and other Mission officials have regularly raised our concerns about many of these issues directly with senior PRC officials and will continue to do so,” the statement said.
David Tafuri, a former State Department official and foreign policy adviser to the Obama campaign, says the State Department is trying to get ahead of the situation and prevent citizens from being caught in a situation of tension in China.
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“I think this is a message to American citizens in China that the State Department believes that the combination of more anti-Covid measures and a possible crackdown on protesters by China could lead to more blockades and bans travel that could put US citizens at risk of arrest if they leave home,” Tafuri said.
Tumultuous protests erupted in several Chinese cities over the country’s “zero COVID” policy and a deadly fire at a high-rise building that claimed the lives of 10 people.
The building, located in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province, had been partially closed for nearly two months.
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Miles Yu, senior fellow and director of the China Center at the Hudson Institute, told Fox News Digital that the burning to death of 10 people was a trigger for social uprisings, making them different from previous ones in the country .
“The previous one [protests] they are mostly people from the bottom of the social stratification, i.e. migrant workers. They are the social dispossessed. This time it’s mainly led by what you might call middle-class people who own property,” Yu said. He added that the recent protests “are much broader-based in society.”
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Tafuri says that “it’s very rare for mainland China to have human rights protests, so it’s worth watching to see if it catches on and translates into sustained civil disobedience and demands on China to improve rights humans”.
Videos posted online showed police attacking and taking away some protesters, but there appeared to be no immediate response from President Xi Jinping or the Chinese Communist Party.
Tafuri predicts that the demonstration could result in some minor concessions from the CCP, but “at the end of the day, China is a police state with more than enough means and resources to quell these protests. My guess is that they will crack down on them before they allow it.” they spread further.”
Yu warns that “it could be dangerous because it could give the protesters a false sense of triumph and so on… too [could] leading the Chinese government to muster its forces and gather means or assets.”
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