Protests against China’s draconian Covid measures spilled over into the big city on the second night.
Demonstrators gathered in the capital Beijing and financial hub Shanghai.
Many people raised a blank slate to voice their dissatisfaction and acknowledge censorship. However, there are even calls for President Xi Jinping to resign.
Millions of people have been affected by nearly three years of massive testing, quarantines and snap lockdowns.
It is very rare in China for people to take out their anger publicly against Communist Party leaders, and direct criticism of the government can lead to severe penalties.
Police have largely allowed rallies to continue, but in Shanghai on Sunday, police arrested several people and blocked streets.
Hundreds of people gathered on the riverbanks of the capital Beijing for hours on Sunday to sing the national anthem and listen to speeches.
Dozens of people peacefully protested against Covid restrictions and sang the national anthem at Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University, according to photos and videos posted on social media.
Protests also took place during the day in the southwestern city of Chengdu and central Xi’an, as well as in Wuhan, where the Covid outbreak began nearly three years ago.
Videos posted on social media appear to show hundreds of Wuhan residents taking to the streets, with some protesters toppling barricades and tearing down metal gates.
The latest unrest follows protests in a city in northwestern Urumqi, where lockdown rules have been accused of hampering rescue efforts. Skyscraper fire kills 10Chinese officials deny these allegations.
“Xi Jinping withdraws”
In Shanghai, China’s largest city and global financial hub, police cracked down on the Wulumuqi Road area where a candlelit night owl the previous day turned into a protest.
The BBC saw police, private security and plainclothes officers on the streets confronting protesters who had gathered for the second day.
But in the afternoon, hundreds of people returned to the same spot with blank papers and held what appeared to be silent protests, eyewitnesses told AFP news agency.
During Saturday night’s protests in the city, people were heard blatantly shouting slogans such as “Xi Jinping, resign” and “Communist Party, resign.”
Such requests are very rare in China.
But the government appears to have grossly underestimated the growing dissatisfaction with its coronavirus-free approach.
A demonstrator in Shanghai told the BBC he was “shocked and a little excited” to see people taking to the streets, the first time he had seen protests on such a large scale in China. said.
He said the lockdown had left him feeling “sad, angry and desperate” and unable to see his sick mother, who was undergoing cancer treatment.
The Zero Covid Strategy is the last policy of its kind among the world’s major economies, due in part to China’s relatively low vaccination levels and efforts to protect its elderly population.
Snap lockdowns sparked outrage across the country and more broadly, Covid restrictions sparked recent violent protests from Zhengzhou to Guangzhou. set a record since its inception.
Taking to the streets in droves to demand Xi’s resignation was considered unthinkable not so long ago.
But after the recent dramatic protests at a bridge in Beijing that took many by surprise, the hurdles seem to have been set for more open and sharper dissent.
Some even waved the Chinese flag and sang the national anthem. Its lyrics endorse revolutionary ideals and urge people to “Stand up, stand up.”
This is a sign of patriotism, and can also be read as a sharp expression of solidarity with fellow Chinese who are suffering under the Covid Zero Policy, and a call to action.
https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/479628/china-covid-19-protests-continue-in-major-cities-across-the-country China Covid-19: Protests continue in major cities across the country