(TownHall) Something stunning and potentially hugely consequential is happening China. People there have been protesting China’s “zero COVID” policy under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). As they take to the streets, Chinese citizens are not only calling for an end to such policies, but to Xi Jinping’s rule, who serves as the head of the CCP.
People were shouting: “Down with the Communist Party! “Down with Xi Jinping!” “We want freedom!”
Every of these slogans is enough to send a person to jail for 10 years or even a life risk. pic.twitter.com/QT2VQdnFpn
— Franka Lu (@FrankaLu) November 26, 2022
We’re watching history in China right now. Protests against the communist party and Xi Jinping have spread to Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, Zhengzhou, Lanzhou, Lhasa, Hotan, Korla, Urumqi and more. No matter what happens, these people openly demanding freedom is historic! pic.twitter.com/gJrH4QsxHR
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) November 27, 2022
WATCH: Anti-lockdown protesters in Guangzhou, China topple Covid barricade in front of CCP authorities pic.twitter.com/phSmuopUvc
— Election Wizard 🇺🇸 (@ElectionWiz) November 27, 2022
These protests are incredibly courageous, given that the CCP often turns violent measures to quell unrest, just as they’ve done historically. BBC journalist Edward Lawrence, according to reports from the Daily Mail, has been arrested.
CNN’s headline highlighted how the protests and the challenges to Jinping are “unprecedented.” And the report has more, noting that many of the protests are at universities, and that the protests are also calling attention to deadly fires:
Protests erupted across China throughout the weekend, including at universities and in Shanghai where hundreds chanted “Step down, Xi Jinping! Step down, Communist Party!” in an unprecedented show of defiance against the country’s stringent and increasingly costly zero-Covid policy.
A deadly fire at an apartment block in Urumqi, the capital of the far western region of Xinjiang, which killed 10 people and injured nine on Thursday has acted as a catalyst for searing public anger, as videos emerged that seemed to suggest lockdown measures delayed firefighters from reaching the victims.
In China’s biggest cities, from the financial hub of Shanghai to the capital Beijing, residents gathered to grieve the dead from the Xinjiang fire, speak out against zero-Covid and call for freedom and democracy. On dozens of university campuses, students demonstrated or put up protest posters. In many parts of the country, residents in locked-down neighborhoods tore down barriers and took to the streets, following mass anti-lockdown protests that swept Urumqi on Friday night.
Such widespread scenes of anger and defiance – some of which stretched into the early hours of Monday morning –are exceptionally rare in China, where the ruling Communist Party ruthlessly cracks down on all expressions of dissent. But three years into the pandemic, many people have been pushed to the brink by the government’s incessant use of lockdowns, Covid tests and quarantines – as well as ever-tightening censorship and continued onslaught on personal freedoms.
The ratcheting-up of restrictions in recent months, coupled with a series of heartbreaking deaths blamed on an over-zealous policing of the controls, has brought matters to a head.
The report also made note of how demonstrations have bravely spread, despite police crackdowns.
COVID-19 originally came from China at the end of 2019 and by early 2020 was a global pandemic. Initially, the narrative was that it originated from a wet market in Wuhan, while those looking into theories that it leaked out of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) were treated as conspiracy theorists. Over time, however, that theory gained more legitimacy, though many powers that be still try to downplay it.
During his appearance at the White House press briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked about the origins of COVID, though Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre sought to shut down the reporters who asked such questions, as they shouted out indignantly that those who were seeking to ask such crucial questions were not being called on.
China made news for its “zero COVID” policy several months ago chilling reports came out of Shangai with people being locked inside their apartments for a mild outbreak. As Katie highlighted at the time in April, footage showed people screaming to be allowed out, while a drone flew by telling them to not go onto their balconies and to keep quiet.
Despite unleashing the virus, China was still somehow allowed to host the latest Winter Olympics, albeit later than first planned. Harsh quarantine policies were in place for athletes who tested positive under this “zero COVID” policy.