China is one of the world’s most authoritarian countries, and its people have had enough of the COVID control agenda. The lockdown regime being exploited to trample the rights of the people isn’t a Chinese invention. The Democratic Party in the US used it to flex government power and build an electoral advantage for Democrats in the 2020 elections, some of which was retroactively ruled illegal: a secretary of state cannot unilaterally change its state’s voting laws without the consent of its legislature. To no one’s surprise, these changes happened in states where Republicans controlled the state legislature, but I digress.
The people of China are flooding into the streets, demanding their freedom to work, live, eat, and party. They’re done with COVID virus tests. And these protests against the Chinese government aren’t just concentrated in Shanghai. It appears to be across the country (via Reuters):
In a rare surge of protests in China, demonstrators called for the ruling Communist Party and its leader, Xi Jinping, to step down, amid anger at the deaths of at least 10 people in an apartment fire in Xinjiang, presumably during a strict Covid lockdown. https://t.co/7eT7YT4nHw pic.twitter.com/WT54Q0yC1M— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 27, 2022
Rare nationwide protests have broken out in multiple cities in China. Many demonstrators expressed frustration over stringent Covid lockdowns, while others demanded freedom of speech and even the removal of China's leader, Xi Jinping. https://t.co/dT6CQepqAD pic.twitter.com/fj7vSDcMQ5— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 27, 2022
China 🇨🇳— James Melville (@JamesMelville) November 27, 2022
Protests are erupting across China as people have had enough of the draconian zero Covid lockdowns. This is what eventually happens when people power mobilises against oppressive governments that take away freedoms and human dignity. pic.twitter.com/NsZgZTxEYT
Hundreds of demonstrators and police clashed in Shanghai on Sunday night as protests over China's stringent COVID restrictions flared for a third day and spread to several cities in the wake of a deadly fire in the country's far west.
The wave of civil disobedience is unprecedented in mainland China since President Xi Jinping assumed power a decade ago, as frustration mounts over his signature zero-COVID policy nearly three years into the pandemic. The COVID measures are also exacting a heavy toll on the world's second-largest economy.
"I’m here because I love my country, but I don’t love my government ... I want to be able to go out freely, but I can’t. Our COVID-19 policy is a game and is not based on science or reality," said a protester in the financial hub named Shaun Xiao.
Protesters also took to the streets in the cities of Wuhan and Chengdu on Sunday, while students on numerous university campuses around China gathered to demonstrate over the weekend.
A fire on Thursday at a residential high-rise building in the city of Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang region, triggered protests after videos of the incident posted on social media led to accusations that lockdowns were a factor in the blaze that killed 10 people.
On Sunday in Shanghai, police kept a heavy presence on Wulumuqi Road, which is named after Urumqi, and where a candlelight vigil the day before turned into protests.
"We just want our basic human rights. We can’t leave our homes without getting a test. It was the accident in Xinjiang that pushed people too far," said a 26-year-old protester in Shanghai who declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the matter.
"The people here aren’t violent, but the police are arresting them for no reason. They tried to grab me but the people all around me grabbed my arms so hard and pulled me back so I could escape."
By Sunday evening, hundreds of people gathered in the area. Some jostled with police trying to disperse them. People held up blank sheets of paper as an expression of protest.
WATCH: Anti-lockdown protesters in Wuhan break through barricade pic.twitter.com/sqgtDW28Zc— Election Wizard 🇺🇸 (@ElectionWiz) November 27, 2022
Protests in Wuhan. Parts of the city are supposed to be under lockdown, but these people just removed barricades and are walking out.— Election Wizard 🇺🇸 (@ElectionWiz) November 27, 2022
I was supposed to have dinner in a restaurant in Wulumuqi lu tonight. My friends went without me and just sent me this video, taken from behind the window. People getting arrested and taken away. pic.twitter.com/LVh8rywcxj— Eva Rammeloo (@eefjerammeloo) November 27, 2022
SHANGHAI -- "CCP, step down. Xi Jinping, step down."— Election Wizard 🇺🇸 (@ElectionWiz) November 27, 2022
WATCH: Shanghai anti-lockdown protester steps into front of police van before being dragged away by CCP. pic.twitter.com/C4k06R130l— Election Wizard 🇺🇸 (@ElectionWiz) November 27, 2022
Overwhelmed with countless feelings after truly a historic evening in #Beijing— Xifan Yang 杨希璠 (@yangxifan) November 27, 2022
Most cheerful moment of tonite, people chanting:
"We want to eat!"
"...to pay rent!"
"...to see Avatar in the cinema!"
"...to sing karaoke!"
"...to go clubbing!"
BBC Statement on Ed Lawrence pic.twitter.com/wedDetCtpF— BBC News Press Team (@BBCNewsPR) November 27, 2022
Just in.#Chengdu ppl were walking peacefully on streets, chanting “ we don’t want Covid virus test. We want freedom”. The crowds gathered since around 8pm and continued till 2am at least local time. #ChinaProtests pic.twitter.com/ptFjdjjOOE— Vivian Wu (@vivianwubeijing) November 27, 2022
Protesters in Toronto outside of the Chinese consulate chanting "Chinese people, resist! Liberty or die. Down with the CCP!"pic.twitter.com/PyeaFXGaKi— Harrison Faulkner (@Harry__Faulkner) November 28, 2022
Protests in China are not rare. What *is* rare, are multiple protests over the same issue, at the same time, across the country. The protest below, apparently in central Beijing’s liangmaqiao, is astounding #China #protests pic.twitter.com/UHJCqqF1YG— Tom Mackenzie (@TomMackenzieTV) November 27, 2022
Tonight, so close to my home in Beijing. A woman movingly lists out all those who lost their lives due to Zero Covid policies. 🕯️ let’s see what tomorrow brings. pic.twitter.com/hg5TS7PYAS— Emily Feng 冯哲芸 (@EmilyZFeng) November 27, 2022
Here’s more on these acts of civil disobedience from the BBC:
Demonstrators gathered in the capital Beijing and the financial hub Shanghai.
Many held up blank pieces of paper to express their discontent and acknowledge the censorship. Some have, however, gone as far as calling for President Xi Jinping to step down.
Millions have been affected by nearly three years of mass testing, quarantines and snap lockdowns.
It is very unusual for people to publicly vent their anger at Communist Party leaders in China, where any direct government criticism can result in harsh penalties.
The police have largely allowed the rallies to continue, but in Shanghai officers arrested several people and cordoned off streets on Sunday.
Hundreds of people gathered on the banks of a river in the capital Beijing for several hours on Sunday, singing the national anthem and listening to speeches.
Earlier in Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University, dozens held a peaceful protest and sung the national anthem, according to pictures and video posted on social media.
Shocking protests are huge challenge for China's leaders
Protests also took place during the day in the south-western city of Chengdu and central cities of Xi'an and also Wuhan - where the Covid outbreak originated nearly three years ago.
After years of this insanity, the people of China are done with the COVID-zero policy, but given the size and scope of the protests, one must wonder when the Chinese military will get involved. I won’t be shocked if tanks start rolling in if the local police can’t get control of the current situation.