China Cracks Down Amid Rare Mass Protests Over Covid Restrictions

China tightened security in major cities roiled by protests against the country’s strict Covid restrictions, The New York Times reports.

Over the weekend, protests broke out in Shanghai, Beijing and other cities over China’s strict “zero-Covid” measures.

Protests were planned in Shanghai on Monday but security forces descended on the location before any demonstrations began.

The protests came in response to years of lockdowns that have forced entire buildings, neighborhoods and even cities to shut down to stamp out infections.

Protestors say the lockdowns have hurt the economy and is forcing international companies to look outside of China for production.

The government slightly loosened its Covid restrictions earlier this month but the country has since seen an outbreak of infections with the highest number of daily reported cases to this point in the pandemic.

Hong Kong, too:

Protests spread to Hong Kong on Monday, calling on Chinese President Xi Jinping to resign.

About 50 students protested at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Security forces have responded with arrests. It is unclear how many people have been detained since Friday.

The protests began after 10 people died in a fire in the city of Urumqi, which has been under lockdown for months. Some have questioned whether people trying to escape may have been blocked by lockdown barricades or other virus controls.

Beijing announced on Monday it would no longer set up gates to block access to buildings.

“Passages must remain clear for medical transportation, emergency escapes and rescues,” an official said.

BBC reporter beaten:

The BBC said one of its reporters was beaten, kicked, handcuffed and detained for hours by Shanghai police at a protest.

The BBC rejected authorities’ claim that the reporter was detained to prevent him being infected with Covid in the crowd.

“We do not consider this a credible explanation,” the network said.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian said the reporter failed to identify himself and “didn’t voluntarily present” his press pass.

“Foreign journalists need to consciously follow Chinese laws and regulations,” Zhao said.


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