Chinese protesters clash with police across the country as outrage grows against the Chinese Communist Party’s zero-COVID policy.
China’s COVID-19 authorities have relocated tens of thousands of people to camps after testing positive and imposed draconian lockdown measures, even welding doors on some people. Widespread protests are rare in China’s repressive political environment, and police are cracking down heavily on students and workers who dare to demonstrate.
Social media footage appears to show police dragging away protesters in cities across China. In Guangzhou, numerous officers were filmed ruffling with a group of protesters before pulling a man away and knocking him down.
Other officers were photographed dragging another protester by their hands and feet in Shanghai.
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The protests themselves often reference China’s efforts to quell dissent, with protesters holding up blank sheets of paper to symbolize their inability to speak freely.
Officers reportedly used pepper spray to disperse an initial demonstration in Shanghai, but soon began making arrests as protesters returned. Authorities filled a bus with those arrested, according to the Toronto Sun.
Footage allegedly filmed in Nanjing also showed officers fighting with groups of protesters, according to the Associated Press.
Some protesters have reportedly chanted for the CCP and leader Xi Jinping to step down.
The protests broke out in part because of a fire at an apartment building in China’s Xinjiang region that killed 10 people and injured several more. Citizens were outraged after reports suggested that COVID-19 lockdown measures had prevented first responders from responding faster to the fire.
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The fire occurred in the city of Urumqi, and authorities soon relaxed lockdown measures.
However, the nightly demonstrations saw protesters tear down barriers and shout in the streets demanding an end to the other measures.
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Even the typically China-friendly World Health Organization has criticized the CCP’s zero-Covid policy, arguing earlier this year that it was “not sustainable.”