Beijing, Nov 27: In a rare public protest against Chinese leadership, people protesting in China over the stringent COVID-19 restrictions were heard asking Chinese President ‘Xi Jinping to step down in the videos which have gone viral on social media sites. More importantly, they are voices which are calling for “freedom of speech” and “democracy”.
What’s in the Clip?
In the viral clip, protestors chanted slogans against restrictions imposed by the Chinese government to curb the spread of Covid. They targeted the government with the slogans like “Step down the Communist Party” and ” the Communist Party, Step down. Xi Jinping, step down,” according to a video posted by DW News East Asia Correspondent William Yang on Twitter.
He posted several tweets over the Shanghai protest against the China government and said that countless people gathered on Urumqi Road and chanted slogans, “I don’t want PCR test, I want freedom.” In another tweet, William Yang said, people in ‘Urumqi Road’ also called for ending the lockdown in Xinjiang.
China: Xinjiang loosens COVID curbs after protests
“Citizens chanting #Xinjiang, end lockdown, #Xinjiang, end lockdown,” Yang wrote on Twitter.
He also claimed that a fight broke out between people and police at the site of a protest in Shanghai. In a tweet, William Yang said, “Police surrounded the last few dozens of protesters at the scene in Shanghai and some women were reportedly taken away.” “Incredible footage from #China’s #Shanghai, where countless people gathered at a road called “#Urumqi road,” chanting the slogan “Step down, the Communist Party” very loudly,” William Yang wrote on Twitter.
— 李老师不是你老师 (@whyyoutouzhele) November 26, 2022
Joyce Karam, senior US correspondent at The National, also shared a clip from the protest. “Rare protests erupt in #China’s largest city over Covid restrictions & gov. rules. “We want freedom” the crowd chants in this video from Wulumuqi road tonight,” Karam tweeted.
Axial Vibe Studio Co-founder Vivian Wu wrote shared the clip and wrote, “Scale of the protest tonight in Shanghai. Notice police didn’t do anything but stand calmly watching ppl protest and shout. It’s not benevolence. My guess: they need to ask for directives from the top authorities. Police might be stunned as nobody dares to do so for decades.”
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) November 26, 2022
While the majority of the countries across the world have lifted Covid 19-related curbs, China has continued with its strict zero-Covid policy which has met with resentment among its population and sparked sporadic protests throughout the country. Residents in many cities have taken to street to vent their anger against the lockdowns and closures of businesses.
What triggered the fresh protests was a fire in a residential high-rise in Urumqi, where many residents have been placed under lockdown in which 10 people were killed.
Meanwhile, a fresh protest has been reported at Tsinghua University in Beijing where students are heard chanting “democracy and rule of law.”
Following last night’s public protest in #Shanghai, here is another protest, reportedly at the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing, with students chanting “democracy and rule of law. Expression of freedom.” #China https://t.co/lGIdzybqkk
— William Yang (@WilliamYang120) November 27, 2022
The People’s Republic of China has an authoritarian political system which is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping was on re-elected as General Secretary of Communist Party of China for a record third five-year term.
Violent protests at China’s Foxconn’s largest iPhone factory
Similarly, the video clips of workers at Foxconn’s vast iPhone factory in central China clashing with security personnel over Covid restrictions at the plant have gone viral.
In the clips, which have been verified by AFP news agency, workers are seen marching on a road, with some being confronted by riot police and people in hazmat suits.
CHINA: Protests getting out of hand at Foxconn iPhone plant in Zhengzhou tonight where workers are rebelling against Covid harsh restrictions and work environment pic.twitter.com/xwe2oAHYge
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) November 23, 2022
Some people livestreamed the protests and said that they were being beaten up by the police. “They’re hitting people, hitting people. Do they have a conscience?” a man with a bloodied face in a clip said. In one such viral video, fire trucks are seen surrounded by police and a voice on loudspeaker says, “All workers please return to their accommodation, do not associate with a small minority of illegal elements.”
In another video, footage shared on a livestreaming site showed workers shouting, “Defend our rights! Defend our rights!” Other workers were seen smashing surveillance cameras and windows with sticks, according to a report in BBC.
Some employees told BBC that they were protesting after the company “changed the contract they promised”. Some also feared being infected by the COVID-19 from the staff who were there during the previous outbreak.
Story first published: Sunday, November 27, 2022, 14:48 [IST]