Wave of civil unrest grips China ‘in largest anti-government protests since Tiananmen Square’


by Chris Spargo, Daily Mail:

Police attack anti-lockdown activists on bus and rallies openly call for Xi to resign as fury over Zero-Covid policy flares for THIRD day after deadly flat fire
  • Hordes of students have staged a huge protest at Tsinghua university in Beijing over CCP’s Covid controls
  • Comes hours after mass protests broke out on Saturday night in Shanghai – China’s biggest financial hub
  • ‘Lift lockdown for Urumqi, lift lockdown for Xinjiang, lift lockdown for China!’ the crowds in Shanghai chanted
  • At one point a large group began shouting, ‘Down with the Chinese Communist Party, down with Xi Jinping, free Urumqi!’, according to witnesses and videos in a rare public protest against the Chinese leadership
  • Public fury forced authorities in Xinjiang to open up parts of the capital Urumqi – subject to a punishing ‘zero-Covid’ lockdown for over 3 months – after at least ten people in a fire at a locked-down apartment block 
  • China is battling a surge in infections that prompted yet more brutal lockdowns and restrictions across nation
  • Beijing is attempting to stick to a zero-covid policy even as much of the world tries to coexist with the virus 

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China is facing its largest anti-government protests since the Tiananmen Square massacre after activists filled the streets to openly call for an end to the rule of President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Hundreds of students at Tsinghua university in Beijing joined waves of demonstrations as unrest grows over the ruthless zero-Covid policies pursued by the authoritarian government.

The crowds carried a series of placards touting anti-regime slogans and erupted into a series of chants, calling for ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom of expression’.

The university in the Chinese capital is the latest public location to be rocked by unprecedent civil unrest and demonstrations on a scale unseen since the infamous Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 which ended in hundreds of deaths when the army was deployed to quell the uprising.

‘At 11:30 am students started holding up signs at the entrance of the canteen, then more and more people joined. Now there are 200 to 300 people,’ one witness told an AFP journalist.

Participants sang the national anthem and ‘the Internationale’ – a standard of the international communist movement – and chanted ‘freedom will prevail’ and ‘no to lockdowns, we want freedom’, they said.

The witness also described students holding up blank pieces of paper, a symbolic protest against censorship.

Demonstrations have erupted in at least seven cities – including Shanghai, Nanjing and Guangzhou – with violence breaking out between local cops and furious protesters.

Professor of Global History at Oxford University, Peter Frankopan, commented on the gravity of the protests and warned the Chinese government would likely respond with even harsher measures.

‘Most serious moment since Tiananmen in 89. Hard to see the genie get put back in the bottle. A soft touch needed; a hammer much more likely to come next. And then who knows,’ he said.

Luke de Pulford of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China said: ‘I can’t tear myself away from these videos. Breathtaking courage. Chinese students demanding democracy. Undeniable echoes of Tiananmen.’

Footage circulated on social media showed crowds tearing down metal fences and barricades as they grappled with security officers who deployed their batons and tear gas in attempt to control the swell of humanity.

The largest demonstration appeared in Shanghai – home to 26million residents – with many boldly demanding that President Xi resign.

Footage shared on social media appears to show police attacking anti-lockdown protesters who had been arrested and put on buses in Shanghai on the third day of unrest in the world’s most populous nation.

Officers used pepper spray against about 300 protesters, according to a witness, but western journalists reported the numbers to be in the thousands.

Meanwhile last night hundreds gathered to mourn the deaths of at least 10 people in an apartment fire last week in Urumqi in the Xinjiang region, where residents were sealed in their buildings to try to stop the spread of Covid.

In one poignant tribute shared on social media people lit candles in memory of the dead and placed them on the floor in face masks.

It comes amid China launching another mass crackdown on the virus with crippling lockdowns put in place across the country, nearly three years after the pandemic started there.

The nation reported another 39,791 new cases spread across the country – the biggest one-day increase on record – including a record 4,307 in Beijing alone.

But it appears ill-equipped for the latest battle with Covid, with it using its own vaccines, rather than approved foreign ones, which do not have the same effectiveness at beating back the virus.

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