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The Chinese regime has protected Beijing and Shanghai after the unprecedented protests against the 'zero COVID' policy

The Chinese regime has protected Beijing and Shanghai after the unprecedented protests against the ‘zero COVID’ policy

Police officers sweep people away during a protest against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in Shanghai (Eva Rammeloo / via REUTERS)

major Chinese cities Beijing s Shanghai They surrounded security on Tuesday after mass demonstrations demanding political freedom and the The end of the closures toilets, while the authorities are facing a wave of protests the likes of which have not been witnessed in decades.

China is experiencing a wave of unrest unleashed by anger with ongoing restrictions by Covid-19 and frustration with the country’s political trajectory.

Fatal fire last week in Urumqithe capital of the northwest region of Xinjiangspurring public outrage after many blamed the coronavirus shutdown for difficulties firefighters had in rescue efforts.

Several protests expected Monday night did not materialize.

AFP journalists in Beijing and Shanghai noted A A large police presence While the protesters said they had received calls from the authorities demanding information about their movements.

in ShanghaiBar owners, near the site of the protests at the weekend, told AFP they had been ordered to close at 10:00 pm (1400 GMT) “disease control”.

Small groups of police are found at the exits of subway stations.

journalists from France Press agency They watched officers detain four people and then release one, while a reporter counted 12 police cars 100 meters away along Wolome Street, the focal point of Sunday’s protests.

“The atmosphere today is tense. There are a lot of policemen around.”announced to France Press agency A man in his 30s late afternoon in Shanghai.

Police officers are present behind barricades in Shanghai (Reuters/Josh Horowitz)
Police officers are present behind barricades in Shanghai (Reuters/Josh Horowitz)

authorities Beijingas icy winds were blowing, prevented new protests on Monday with aImpressive police show Cars and troops on foot.

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However, there were some demonstrations elsewhere. An AFP journalist said dozens of students gathered in Hong Kong to pay tribute to the victims of the Urumqi fire.

“Don’t look away, don’t forget,” protesters chanted.

in HangzhouAbout 170 kilometers southwest of Shanghai, there were scattered protests and tight security in the city centre, according to images posted on social media and partially identified by AFP.

Strict censorship of Chinese information and travel restrictions due to coronavirus policy make it difficult to verify the number of protesters across the country.

howeverSuch widespread manifestations are exceptional in ChinaThe authorities contained any outbreak of opposition to the government.

USA President , Joe BidenThe White House said on Monday that mobilization is continuing.

The protests generated demonstrations of support around the world.

In the United States, Chinese and Uyghur communities have joined in vigils to remember the victims of the zero COVID policy, including those killed in the Urumqi fire.

“The authorities are using the pretext of the virus, but they are using very strict lockdowns to control the Chinese population,” a 21-year-old Chinese protester, who gave himself only his last name, told AFP.

“They despise human life and let many die in vain,” he added.

Demonstrators in front of a group of police officers (Reuters/Casey Hall)
Demonstrators in front of a group of police officers (Reuters/Casey Hall)

The Chinese authorities stand firmly on its side Zero covid policywhich imposes lockdowns, quarantine orders, and restrictions on freedom of movement to contain even the slightest outbreak of the coronavirus.

But there are indications that local authorities are looking to relax some rules to contain mobilization.

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in UrumqiOn Tuesday, an official said the city would pay 300 yuan ($42) per person “with or without income” and announced a five-month suspension on rent for some families.

As of Tuesday, that city had a population of four million, some of whom were confined to their homes for weeksThey will be able to travel by bus to carry out procedures and purchases within their residential area, said the authorities.

In Beijing, state media reported that authorities have apologized for delayed delivery of online purchases due to the lockdown.

The city also banned closing gates in residential areas, the official news agency reported. shenhua on Sunday, a practice that sparked outrage for leaving people cooped up in the face of small outbreaks of infection.

An influential commentator in the government press has suggested that coronavirus controls will be loosened further and that The public will “settle down soon.”

“I can make an accurate forecast: China will not become chaotic or out of control,” Hu Shijian, a columnist for the state-run daily, wrote on Twitter. Global Times.

“China could emerge from the shadow of COVID-19 sooner than expected,” he added.

(By Matthew Walsh with Ludovic Erett in Beijing, AFP)

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