Police officers block Wulumuqi street, named for Urumqi in Mandarin, in Shanghai on November 27, 2022, in the area where protests against China’s zero-Covid policy took place the night before following a deadly fire in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region. Hector RETAMAL / AFP
December 1, 2022: Beijing may have to prepare itself for a “Despite high case numbers” narrative after widespread protests against the “Zero COVID” policy forced it to ease some tough measures.
Critics of China have criticised the restrictions and somehow indicated that public resentment against them was justified. The lifting of some strong-arm measures, however, is threatening to create a totally-different line of criticism, with the government now standing to be accused of yielding to political pressure at the expense of public health.
Some media outlets abroad have started to emphasise that loosened control is being implemented in areas that have seen alarming rises. It was reported that dozens of districts in Shanghai and Guangzhou were released from severe lockdown measures starting today.
The relative leniency followed mass protests against the heavy-handed “Zero-COVID” policy. The unrest was triggered by a fire in a high-rise block in the western Xinjiang region that killed many people last month. The pro-protest narrative was that long-running restrictions in the city contributed to the deaths, although the authorities denied such a claim.
Daily updates of local and international events by Tulsathit Taptim