Protesting zero-Covid Policies in China

People gather for a vigil in protest over zero-Covid lockdown rules in Urumqi, China. At least 10 people died in an apartment fire where Urumqi residents were confined in lockdown for three months (provided by South China Morning Post)

Protests against China’s “zero-Covid” lockdown policies have occurred in Shanghai, Beijing, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Wuhan, and other cities in China. Under the lockdown rules people are confined to their homes for weeks and must undergo constant testing. Businesses and schools are closed until no new infections are reported (BBC). In some cities, like Urumqi (Xinjiang), residents were confined for three months with poor access to food and medicine. At least 10 people died in a Urumqi apartment fire including a mother Qemernisa Abdurahman and her four children ages 5-13.

On November 28 over 40,000 new Covid cases were reported in China. The primary vaccines used in China are Sinovac and Sinopharm. China has rejected vaccines from Western nations.

Kim Hjelmgaard of USA Today reports that some protests have become violent with demonstrators clashing with police. Protests slowed down on November 29 after a larger police presence appeared. The Daily Mail reported photos of military tanks rolling through Xuzhou on November 28. One Shanghai protestor told CNN that he was one of around 100 people detained on November 26. Chinese social media platform Weibo has banned the words “Urumqi” and “Shanghai” – where protests occurred. Some protestors are using a VPN to post banned civil disobedience content on Twitter and Instagram.

US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns stated, “We believe the Chinese people have a right to protest peacefully… That’s a fundamental right around the world. And that right… shouldn’t be interfered with.”

CNBC’s Su-Lin Tan reports that supply chains should not be impacted right now because factories in China are still operating.