Demonstrations around China lead the national government to relax Covid regulations, resulting in a little triumph for residents.
In light of further Covid instances, Xi implemented another shutdown a few weeks ago. In addition, several economic centers around the country reported new instances of the virus. This prompted Xi to strengthen border controls.
Over 20 cities were affected, including Shanghai, Beijing, Wuhan, Chengdu, and Shenzhen. The imposition, however, triggered a surge of backlash among individuals harmed by the lockdowns. As a result, Chinese citizens fearlessly confronted their leader and demanded his resignation.
“I feel like everyone’s hard work is paying off,” said one protester.
“In our view, ending the pandemic [measures] as soon as possible is the key to the recovery in credit demand and economic growth,” said an analyst from Nomura.
“For China’s official institutions, there are no easy paths. Accelerating reopening plans when new Covid cases are rising is unlikely, given the low vaccination coverage of the elderly. But, on the other hand, mass protests would deeply tilt the scales in favor of an even weaker economy and likely be accompanied by a massive surge in Covid cases, leaving policymakers with a considerable dilemma,” added SPI Asset Management’s Innes.
A concern for China
The everyday mass protests compelled the police to respond. As a result, the two sides have been at odds for days. Authorities wanted to put an end to the demonstrations. However, the protests continued, with more people calling for Xi’s resignation. As a result, the authorities relaxed the limitations.
“We need to be braver! Am I breaking the law by holding flowers? We Chinese need to be braver! So many of us were arrested yesterday. Are they without a job or a family? We should not be afraid,” a citizen said.
“We don’t want lockdowns, and we want freedom! Freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of arts, freedom of movement, and personal freedoms. Give me back my freedom,” crowds shouted in Guangzhou, a city in southern China.
“Every conscientious Chinese should be here. Of course, they don’t have to voice their opinions, but I hope they can stand with us,” added a demonstrator.
Continuing the lockdown
While many somewhat celebrate the development, new lockdown measures remain in place. For example, visitors must pass the 48-hour negative Covid test before entering a public location in Beijing.
“It appears that moving away from zero-Covid is pretty much a decentralized process in China: while some localities are easing restrictions, some allegedly still cling to zero-Covid, and still others are waiting and watching,” said Yanzhing Huang, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
“There will be no compensations, no apologies, no discovery of the truth, just moving on. What can lock us down can also easily unlock us. How terrifying is this capricious power, and when will it overturn your life again? I don’t celebrate. I just remember those brave friends with gratitude,” said a resident in a video posted on Weibo.