January 31, 2023

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In China, silence from the authorities in the face of growing political protests against the zero-covid strategy

Urumqi (Xinjiang), Shanghai, Beijing, Nanjing (Jiangsu), Canton (Guangdong), Zhengzhou (Henan), Wuhan (Hubei), Chengdu (Sichuan), Changsha (Hunan), Chongqing… Since Friday November 25, tens of thousands of people have been at risk. , participate in joint demonstrations in China. Strikes and protests are less common in this country than the West would have you believe. However, no such nationwide movement was seen after June 1989.

read more: The article is reserved for our subscribers In China, the frustration of young people affected by the zero-covid policy is taking a political turn

The zero covid policy, its excesses and its consequences explain the first mobilizations. In Urumqi, people’s anger erupted on Thursday after more than three months of detention, when ten people were killed in a fire in their building, their exits blocked, due to health policy obligations. In Zhengzhou, Workers at Apple’s subsidiary Foxconn protested To get promised but unpaid bonuses and against living and working conditions that are untenable due to covid zero. In Canton, it was against the inhumane prison conditions that people rioted in mid-November.

But this weekend, in Shanghai, Nanking, Beijing, Changsha, Chengdu and Wuhan, protests quickly took a political turn. You can ask there “Xi Jinping, Resign”, “Suspend the presidency for life”, “We don’t need trials, freedom”, But in Beijing, “Give back cinema, stop censorship”. And, everywhere, these sheets of white paper are held at arm’s length, symbols of a country that cannot write what is in its heart, but thinks it less. In Beijing on Sunday evening, only a few hundred people, mostly very young, demonstrated. No doubt almost all the students are locked up and unable to leave the campus. During the day, several students at the prestigious Tsinghua University called for more democracy, according to videos. Again, for the first time since June 1989.

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read more: The article is reserved for our subscribers China: In Shanghai, after the Urumqi tragedy, hundreds of youths protested against the zero-covid policy.

To these collective movements are added some individual acts of resistance. In Beijing, just before the Communist Party Congress on October 13, a man showed his anger by brandishing a banner hostile to Xi Jinping, knowing full well that he would be arrested minutes later. On November 24, a resident of Chongqing publicly denounced the policy pursued: “There is only one disease in the world: lack of freedom and poverty”, He judged.

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