TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Protests against China’s draconian “zero COVID” policy resurfaced in Shanghai on Sunday afternoon, even after police wiped out hundreds of demonstrators early in the morning with force and pepper spray. surfaced.
The police began to push on people who had gathered in the streets, and the crowd stood and filmed shouting, “We don’t want PCR tests, we want freedom!” Witnesses who did not want to be named for fear of reprisal said.
Since Friday, people have held protests across China, where street demonstrations are extremely rare. Anger and frustration flare up against what the public believes.
According to a crowdsourced list on social media, 50 universities had demonstrations. Videos posted on social media, which appear to have been filmed in Nanjing in the east, Guangzhou in the south and at least five other cities, showed demonstrators in white protective suits fighting police. Or, it was shown that the barricades used to block the neighborhood were being dismantled. The Associated Press was unable to independently confirm all protests.
Online, a video of the scene soon appeared. Some of the most shared videos are from Shanghai, which went through a devastating lockdown in the spring as people struggled to secure food and medicine and were forced into centralized quarantine. rice field.
Standing on a road named after the Xinjiang Uighur city, where an apartment fire just killed at least 10 people early Sunday morning, protesters shouted, “Xi Jinping! Get off! Chinese Communist Party! Get off.”
Protesters who chanted with the crowd confirmed that people were chanting for the removal of Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
Hundreds of protesters have gathered along the streets of Shanghai since around midnight on Saturday. He on Urumqi Middle Road is divided into two sections. There was one more subdued group, who brought candles, flowers and signs honoring those who died in the apartment fire. They shouted slogans and sang the national anthem.
The energy was encouraging, protesters said. People called for an official apology for the deaths in the Urumqi fire. Some discussed the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, while the ruling Communist Party ordered troops to open fire on student protesters. .
“Everyone thinks that Chinese people are afraid to come out and protest, they don’t have the courage.” It was a great environment.”
It was a peaceful scene at first. Around 3am it got intense. Police began to surround the protesters, dispersing the first, more active group before coming to a second group that brought flowers.
The protester, who gave only his surname Zhao, said one of his friends was beaten by police and two others were pepper-sprayed. He said he stamped his foot when he tried to stop police from taking his friend away, he lost his shoes in the process and left the protest barefoot.
In reference to protests staged by a man in Beijing before the 20th Communist Party Congress in October in Beijing, Zhao said protesters “(we) want a PCR (test).” We are not free, but we want freedom,” he said.
After three years of severe lockdowns that have kept people confined to their homes for weeks at a time, the fires in Xinjiang seem to have finally breached the Chinese public’s ability to withstand the harsh measures.
China’s approach to controlling COVID-19 with strict lockdowns and mass testing has been hailed by its own citizens as minimizing deaths at a time when other countries have suffered devastating waves of infections. Xi cites the approach as an example of how the Chinese system excels compared to Western countries, particularly the United States, which has struggled to politicize mask use and enact widespread lockdowns. was
Over the past few weeks, that attitude has changed, with a series of tragedies due to the excessive enforcement of the “no new coronavirus” policy.
Hundreds of police lined up in Shanghai and formed mobs around demonstrators as a strategy to clear them, protesters said. Police spent several hours dividing the protesters into small groups and pushing them out of Urumqi Street.
By 5 a.m. Sunday, police had managed to clear the crowd.
The protester, who declined to give his name, said he saw multiple people being hauled away by police and forced into a van, but was unable to identify them. By 2016, six people had been identified as being removed based on images and videos from that night and information from people who knew the detainees. Among those detained is a young woman known only by the nickname “Little Hee”.
Posters calling for more action were circulated online Sunday night in Shanghai and Chengdu, a major city in southwestern China.
Meanwhile, two cities in northwestern China, where residents have been confined to their homes for up to four months, eased some antivirus controls on Sunday after public protests on Friday.
The fire-hit Urumqi, a city of 4.8 million people and the capital of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, has reopened markets and other businesses and resumed buses in areas deemed at low risk of virus transmission. I was preparing to , railway and airline services, state media reported.
Beijing AP writer Dake Kang contributed to this report.
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