Rare protests across China as anger mounts over zero-Covid policy

Published On: November 27, 2022 09:02 PM NPT By: Agencies

BEIJING, Nov 27: Hundreds of demonstrators in Shanghai shouted and jostled with police on Sunday evening as protests over China's stringent COVID restrictions flared for a third day following a deadly apartment fire in the country's far west, Reuters reported.

The wave of civil disobedience, which has spread to other cities including Beijing, is unprecedented in mainland China since President Xi Jinping assumed power a decade ago and comes amid mounting frustration over his signature zero-COVID policy, the news agency added.

According to AFP, China's hardline virus strategy is stoking public frustration, with many growing weary of snap lockdowns, lengthy quarantines and mass testing campaigns.

A deadly fire on Thursday in Urumqi, the capital of northwest China's Xinjiang region, has become a fresh catalyst for public anger, with many blaming lengthy Covid lockdowns for hampering rescue efforts. Authorities deny the claims, AFP further reported.

Meanwhile, the BBC reported that the Chinese authorities denied that Covid restrictions caused the deaths, but officials in Urumqi did issue an unusual apology late on Friday, and pledged to "restore order" by phasing out restrictions.

During Saturday night's protest in Shanghai - China's biggest city and a global financial hub in the east of the country - people were heard openly shouting slogans such as "Xi Jinping, step down" and "Communist party, step down," the BBC added.

China has spent nearly three years living with some of the strictest COVID curbs in the world.

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