Something stunning and potentially hugely consequential is happening China. People there have been protesting China's "zero COVID" policy under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). As they take to the streets, Chinese citizens are not only calling for an end to such policies, but to Xi Jinping's rule, who serves as the head of the CCP.
People were shouting: “Down with the Communist Party! “Down with Xi Jinping!” “We want freedom!”— Franka Lu (@FrankaLu) November 26, 2022
Every of these slogans is enough to send a person to jail for 10 years or even a life risk. pic.twitter.com/QT2VQdnFpn
We’re watching history in China right now. Protests against the communist party and Xi Jinping have spread to Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, Zhengzhou, Lanzhou, Lhasa, Hotan, Korla, Urumqi and more. No matter what happens, these people openly demanding freedom is historic! pic.twitter.com/gJrH4QsxHR— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) November 27, 2022
WATCH: Anti-lockdown protesters in Guangzhou, China topple Covid barricade in front of CCP authorities pic.twitter.com/phSmuopUvc— Election Wizard 🇺🇸 (@ElectionWiz) November 27, 2022
These protests are incredibly courageous, given that the CCP often turns violent measures to quell unrest, just as they've done historically. BBC journalist Edward Lawrence, according to reports from the Daily Mail, has been arrested.
CNN's headline highlighted how the protests and the challenges to Jinping are "unprecedented." And the report has more, noting that many of the protests are at universities, and that the protests are also calling attention to deadly fires:
Protests erupted across China throughout the weekend, including at universities and in Shanghai where hundreds chanted “Step down, Xi Jinping! Step down, Communist Party!” in an unprecedented show of defiance against the country’s stringent and increasingly costly zero-Covid policy.
A deadly fire at an apartment block in Urumqi, the capital of the far western region of Xinjiang, which killed 10 people and injured nine on Thursday has acted as a catalyst for searing public anger, as videos emerged that seemed to suggest lockdown measures delayed firefighters from reaching the victims.
In China’s biggest cities, from the financial hub of Shanghai to the capital Beijing, residents gathered to grieve the dead from the Xinjiang fire, speak out against zero-Covid and call for freedom and democracy. On dozens of university campuses, students demonstrated or put up protest posters. In many parts of the country, residents in locked-down neighborhoods tore down barriers and took to the streets, following mass anti-lockdown protests that swept Urumqi on Friday night.
Such widespread scenes of anger and defiance – some of which stretched into the early hours of Monday morning –are exceptionally rare in China, where the ruling Communist Party ruthlessly cracks down on all expressions of dissent. But three years into the pandemic, many people have been pushed to the brink by the government’s incessant use of lockdowns, Covid tests and quarantines – as well as ever-tightening censorship and continued onslaught on personal freedoms.
The ratcheting-up of restrictions in recent months, coupled with a series of heartbreaking deaths blamed on an over-zealous policing of the controls, has brought matters to a head.
The report also made note of how demonstrations have bravely spread, despite police crackdowns.
COVID-19 originally came from China at the end of 2019 and by early 2020 was a global pandemic. Initially, the narrative was that it originated from a wet market in Wuhan, while those looking into theories that it leaked out of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) were treated as conspiracy theorists. Over time, however, that theory gained more legitimacy, though many powers that be still try to downplay it.
During his appearance at the White House press briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked about the origins of COVID, though Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre sought to shut down the reporters who asked such questions, as they shouted out indignantly that those who were seeking to ask such crucial questions were not being called on.
China made news for its "zero COVID" policy several months ago chilling reports came out of Shangai with people being locked inside their apartments for a mild outbreak. As Katie highlighted at the time in April, footage showed people screaming to be allowed out, while a drone flew by telling them to not go onto their balconies and to keep quiet.
Despite unleashing the virus, China was still somehow allowed to host the latest Winter Olympics, albeit later than first planned. Harsh quarantine policies were in place for athletes who tested positive under this "zero COVID" policy.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) dismissed calls, including from U.S. lawmakers, to move the games elsewhere, and Democrats, including the Biden administration also largely dismissed anything more than a mere diplomatic boycott. The IOC even dismissed diplomatic boycotts, and stayed silent on the human rights violations in China.
There was not merely outrage due to China getting to host the games again over COVID, but also because of genocide against Uyghurs, which the CCP has tried to deny, though disturbing reports confirm genocide occurred through forced abortions and sterilizations.
It does not appear that the Biden administration has responded to the protests. There were no statements from the White House website, nor from the White House Twitter account, just as there were none from either of President Joe Biden's accounts, Vice President Kamala Harris' accounts, or Jean-Pierre's press secretary account.
To add insult to injury, those accounts have all tweeted in recent days, with many of them tweeting on Sunday, to promote supposed accomplishments of the Biden administration. The White House's account on Sunday, just as Jean-Pierre's did on Friday, tweeted yet another reminder for people to get their updated COVID shot.
There has been no response from anyone in the Biden Administration, despite the fact that the protests in Shanghai are taking place right outside the US consulate— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) November 27, 2022
It's worth noting that the Biden administration was also notoriously slow to respond to protests in Cuba from July 2021, which did not go unnoticed and rightfully received much criticism.
Dr. Fauci was asked about and denounced China's COVID strategy during his Sunday appearance on "Meet the Press," as he mentioned "their approach has been very, very severe and rather draconian in the kinds of shutdowns without a seeming purpose."
That was about as much of a denounced as viewers were going to get though. Fauci even seemed afraid to call out China's approach on vaccines of only using their own, as he said that approach "clearly, with all due respect, was not particularly effective at all compared to any of a number of the vaccines that were available." His biggest issue was not prioritizing the elderly.
Host Chuck Todd also appeared afraid to call out the CCP. "I mean, I hate to be putting it in those terms, but an authoritative regime like that, it almost looked like a strategy not a mistake," he said. "Well, I don't know what it was. But it certainly, from a public health standpoint, didn't make much sense," Fauci responded.
It's also worth reminding that while speaking about China's lockdowns before, as he did in April during an interview with MSNBC, Fauci claimed about China that "early on, they were saying, and I think accurately, that they were doing better than almost anybody else." He also did not call out China's human rights abuses.