China police out in force to prevent more Covid protests

BEIJING: Chinese police were deployed in Beijing and Shanghai on Tuesday to prevent more protests against Covid The containment measures have disrupted the lives of millions, damaged the economy and sparked rare Presidential appeals for a short time. Xi Jinping step down.
At least one person in the city of Hangzhou was arrested late Monday, according to videos on social media, after it was reported that a caravan of protesters had been taken away by police during the night’s protests. Sunday in Shanghai.
A simmering discontent with Covid-19 prevention policies three years after the pandemic erupted into wider protests in cities thousands of miles apart over the course of the weekend.
The biggest wave of civil disobedience in mainland China since Xi came to power a decade ago came as the number of Covid cases surged daily to a record high and large parts of some cities faced a series of challenges. new blockade.
Covid in China continues to spread despite the substantial sacrifices made by most of the country’s 1.4 billion population to contain its spread, adhering to a Covid-free policy aimed at eliminating all infections. The outbreak has isolated China from the rest of the world.
The lockdown has exacerbated one of the most severe growth slowdowns China has faced in decades, disrupting global supply chains and roiling financial markets.
In Hangzhou, the capital of eastern Zhejiang province, social media videos that Reuters could not independently verify showed hundreds of policemen occupying a large public square on Monday night, preventing people from entering the city. people gather.
One video shows police, surrounded by a small crowd holding smartphones, making arrests while others try to pull the detainee back.
Hangzhou police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In Shanghai and Beijing, police could be seen on Tuesday morning still patrolling parts of the city where several groups on the social media app Telegram had suggested people gather. Their presence on Monday night and throughout the night ensures no further gatherings take place.
Residents said police asked people passing through those areas to take their phones to check if they had a virtual private network (VPN) and the Telegram app, which was used by protesters on Sunday. weekend or not, people and social network users said. VPNs are illegal for most people in China, while the Telegram app is blocked from the Chinese Internet.
‘A thousand difficulties’
A fire last week in the western city of Urumqi that authorities said killed 10 people appeared to be the catalyst for protests in other cities.
Some internet users said Covid blockade measures had hindered rescue efforts. Officials have denied that.
Although largely focused on measures to contain Covid-19, protesters have occasionally criticized the ruling Communist Party and Xi Jinping, who has concentrated power in his own hands over the past decade and recently secure another leadership term.
On Sunday, a large crowd gathered in the southwestern metropolis of Chengdu, chanting: “We don’t want lifelong rulers. We don’t want emperors.” Anti-Xi slogans were also briefly heard in Shanghai on Sunday.
Mr. Xi has taken personal responsibility for leading the “war” against Covid. Chinese officials say the policy has kept the death toll in the world’s most populous country in the thousands, avoiding millions of deaths elsewhere.
Many analysts say the easing of policies could lead to widespread illness and death, overwhelming the country’s hospitals. They say there needs to be a strong push to vaccinate the elderly before China can contemplate reopening.
In an editorial that did not mention the protests, the People’s Daily, the party’s official newspaper, on Tuesday urged people to “resolutely implement” Covid-free policies, putting “life of the people comes first”, saying victory will come through “perseverance through a thousand hardships.”
“The harder it is, the more you have to grind your teeth,” it said.


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