The Chinese regime has defended Beijing and Shanghai after unprecedented protests against the “Zero Covid” policy.

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

Major Chinese cities Beijing Y Shanghai It went into hiding for security on Tuesday after large protests called for it Political freedom And this End of lockdowns The toilets are facing a wave of protests that authorities have not seen in decades.

China is experiencing a wave of unrest unleashed by anger over Covid-19 and continued outpourings of frustration over the country’s political course.

There was a terrible fire last week UrumpiCapital of the North West Region XinjiangFirefighters have sparked public anger after many blamed the coronavirus lockdown for difficulties in their rescue efforts.

Many protests were expected on Monday night but did not materialize.

AFP journalists in Beijing and Shanghai Heavy police presence Meanwhile, protesters said they received calls from authorities seeking information about their mobilization.

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

Small groups of police were stationed at the exits of subway stations.

Journalists from AFP When a reporter counted 12 police vehicles about 100 meters away on Wulumki Street, the focal point of Sunday’s protests, they saw officers arresting four people and letting one go.

“The atmosphere is tense today. There are many policemen around.announced as AFP A man in his thirties at noon in Shanghai.

Police officers stand behind barricades in Shanghai (REUTERS/Josh Horwitz)
Police officers stand behind barricades in Shanghai (REUTERS/Josh Horwitz)

Officers of BeijingA blizzard prevented fresh protests on Mondayn impressive police scene Cars and troops on foot.

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However, there were some demonstrations in some places. In Hong Kong, dozens of students gathered to honor the victims of the Urumqi fire, an AFP reporter said.

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

In hangzhouAbout 170 km southwest of Shanghai, there were sporadic protests and tight security in the center of the city, according to images posted on social networks and partly geolocated by AFP.

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

HoweverSuch widespread exposure is exceptional in ChinaAny outburst against the government is with the authorities.

President of the United States, Joe BidenThe White House said on Monday that the mobilizations were continuing.

These protests generated demonstrations of support around the world.

In the United States, Chinese and Uyghur communities joined vigils to remember victims of the Zero-Covid policy, including those killed in the Urumqi fire.

“The authorities are using the excuse of Covid, but they are using overly strict lockdowns to control the Chinese population,” a 21-year-old Chinese protester, who gave only her last name, told AFP.

“They hate human life and kill many needlessly,” he added.

Protesters in front of a group of police officers (REUTERS/Casey Hall)
Protesters in front of a group of police officers (REUTERS/Casey Hall)

Chinese officials are determined Zero Covid policyIt imposes lockdowns, quarantine orders and limits on freedom of movement to contain the smallest outbreak of the coronavirus.

But there are signs that local authorities are looking to relax some rules to curb mobilization.

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In UrumpiAn official said on Tuesday that the city would pay 300 yuan ($42) for each person with “low or no income” and announced a five-month ban on rent for some families.

As of Tuesday, the city is home to four million people, some of whom are They have been confined to their homes for weeksOfficials said they will be able to travel by bus for procedures and purchases within their residential district.

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

The city has also banned the locking of doors in residential areas, the official news agency said. Xinhua On Sunday, a practice that drew ire for locking people up in the face of minor infections.

An influential commentator in the state press suggested further easing of Covid restrictions The public will “soon settle.”

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

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

(Matthew Walsh with Ludovic EHRET in Beijing, AFP)

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Eden Hayes

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