China: thousands of protesters against “zero Covid” in several cities

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DHundreds of people took to the streets on Sunday in Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan and other cities across China to protest over-the-top lockdowns, a rare show of hostility to President Xi Jinping’s regime and its policy of ” zero Covid” draconian practiced for nearly three years.

Unexpected, massive and endless confinements to the discovery of the slightest case, systematic quarantine of contact cases in camps and negative PCR tests required almost daily to have access to public space are increasingly exasperating the Chinese population.

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Discontent stoked by several high-profile cases in which the emergency services would have been slowed down in their interventions by health restrictions, with fatal consequences.

On Sunday evening, police trying to move people away from the scene of a previous demonstration clashed with groups of protesters in central Shanghai, a megalopolis whose 25 million inhabitants experienced at the beginning of the year for two months in exhausting isolation, noted an AFP journalist.


A crowd had gathered on Wulumuqi Street (Urumqi in Mandarin) earlier in the day and a video widely circulated on social media and geotagged by AFP showed protesters chanting “Xi Jinping, resign! CCP (Chinese Communist Party, editor’s note), withdraw! The police dispersed the protesters in the morning, but in the afternoon hundreds of people had gathered in the same area, an eyewitness told AFP.

Protesters who sported blank pieces of paper symbolizing censorship and white flowers stood silently at several intersections, he said, on condition of anonymity.


On Sunday evening, between 300 and 400 people also gathered for several hours on the banks of a river in Beijing, some shouting: “We are all people from Xinjiang! Go Chinese people!”, reported AFP journalists present on the spot.

Protestors sang the national anthem and listened to speeches, while across the river a line of police cars waited.

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Hundreds of people have also marched in the streets of Wuhan, in central China, against health restrictions, almost three years to the day after the detection of the first world case of Covid-19 in this city, according to videos. broadcast live on social networks and geolocated by AFP.

Between 200 and 300 students from the prestigious Tsinghua University in the capital also protested the same day on their campus, said a witness interviewed by AFP.

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