Several Chinese protesters have taken to the streets in Shanghai and other parts of the country to express their displeasure over the announcement of the zero Covid policy imposed by President Xi Jinping to tackle the recent spike in Covid cases. The Chinese government by the zero Covid policy imposes lockdowns and city restrictions to combat the spread of coronavirus. 

The Chinese government used the policy at the start of the pandemic to protect the people from the virus. But now, many believe imposing the policy is a threat to human rights after a fire incident in Urumqi, the capital of the far-western region of Xinjiang, killed 10 people. Reports say several Chinese believe they could have escaped the incident if there weren’t such strict COVID-19 lockdowns in place. According to a BBC report, officials say the restrictions didn’t stop anyone from running to safety. 

The protest has led to a clash between the country’s Police and demonstrators as the former strives to maintain law and order and enforce the restrictions while the latter demands for the resignation of President Xi Jinping led government and for the end of the restrictions early. 

The big picture 
These protests are the latest sign of in-built frustration against the Chinese government and its response to COVID. Residents are demanding the government address the spike in the virus in a more subtle manner as China is the only major country that is fighting the worrying surge through lockdowns and mass testing, according to AP.

  • In the past, the severity of the zero Covid policy has raised concerns about the economic implications of the policy on Shanghai, the financial capital of China. 
  • With the recent demonstrations, officials are awaiting orders from the Chinese government to determine the line of action. 
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