Hundreds of people in China protest against zero Covid strategy

After an apartment fire
‘Down with Xi Jinping!’: Protests against zero-Covid strategy reach Beijing and Shanghai

Thousands of people protest against China’s strict corona policy.


China is in the middle of a new corona wave and is therefore sticking to the zero-Covid strategy. The strict lockdown rules are causing more and more displeasure among residents. That’s why more and more people are taking to the streets.

Hundreds of young people took to the streets in Shanghai on Sunday night to protest against the Chinese government’s strict corona measures. According to online videos, the demonstrators shouted, among other things: “Down with the Communist Party! Down with Xi Jinping!”. According to the recordings, several people were taken away by the police. Such open protests are extremely unusual in the authoritarian People’s Republic with more than 1.4 billion inhabitants.

Video taken by an eyewitness on Sunday shows people mourning the victims of the fire in central Shanghai. According to information from the online networks, further vigils were held at universities across the country. The AFP was able to verify the locations of the videos shared on the Internet, but the time could not be clearly clarified.

Protests in China: apartment fire as a trigger

A source who attended the protest in Shanghai but wished to remain anonymous told AFP news agency that she arrived at the site of the demonstration at 2 a.m. At the time, a group of people were mourning and laying flowers on the sidewalk while others chanted slogans. According to the source, there were only minor clashes with law enforcement officers. The police took some people away for an unknown reason.

The demonstrations were triggered by an apartment fire in the northwest Chinese city of Urumqi on Thursday evening, which killed at least ten people and injured nine others. A number of residents criticized on social networks that the rigid corona measures had made the fight against the fire more difficult. Residents had been made more difficult to escape to the outside by locked apartment doors. The city of 3.5 million people had previously been in lockdown for over three months.

China’s strict zero-Covid strategy

Since then, there have been protests in several parts of the country against the rigid corona measures. In the capital Beijing, too, residents in several neighborhoods broke through the fences of their residential complexes and demanded an end to the lockdowns.

China is currently suffering from the highest corona numbers since the beginning of the pandemic. On Sunday, the Beijing Health Commission reported a record number of more than 39,000 new cases for the fourth straight day. Extensive restrictions on movement apply in cities with over a million inhabitants such as Beijing, the hard-hit southern Chinese city of Guangzhou or in Chongqing.

While the rest of the world has long been living with the virus, China is sticking to its strict zero-Covid strategy. Residential areas are cordoned off in individual cases. Contact persons come to quarantine camps. Infected people are isolated in the hospital. Even after almost three years of the pandemic, China’s international borders are largely closed.


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