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COVID Protests Spread Across China as Lockdown Anger Boils Over

HeadlineNov 28, 2022

Protests have erupted in Beijing, Shanghai and other Chinese cities over China’s strict zero-COVID policy. The protests were triggered by a deadly fire Thursday at an apartment building in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. Unrest had been brewing in recent weeks with rare public protests against the government’s restrictions. There are reports that local COVID-19 protocols prevented firefighters from reaching residents trapped in the burning building, resulting in the deaths of at least 10 people. On Friday, crowds took to the streets in Urumqi. Protests then spread to other large cities and campuses, including Tsinghua University in Beijing, where Chinese leader Xi Jinping studied. Many of the protesters held up blank pieces of white paper. One man in Beijing told Reuters, “The white paper represents everything we want to say but cannot say.” On Saturday night, hundreds gathered in Shanghai for a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Urumqi fire, where clashes with police were caught on camera.

Protester 1: “You guys have a job. Have you experienced joblessness?”

Protester 2: “You guys have a job to make a living and make money. How about us? It has been three years!”

Videos show some protesters chanting “Down with Xi Jinping!” and “We want freedom!”

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