Protests erupt across China in unprecedented challenge to Xi Jinping’s zero-Covid policy

Protests are erupting across China, including at universities and in Shanghai where hundreds chanted “Step down, Xi Jinping! Step down, Communist Party!”, in an unprecedented show of defiance against the country’s stringent and increasingly costly zero-Covid policy.

A deadly fire at an apartment block in the country’s far western region of Xinjiang that killed 10 people and injured nine on Thursday appears to have fueled the anger, as video emerged that seemed to suggest lockdown measures delayed firefighters from reaching the victims.

Protests broke out in cities and at universities across China on Saturday and early Sunday morning, according to social media videos and witness accounts.
In multiple videos seen by CNN, people could be heard shouting demands for China’s leader Xi Jinping and the Communist Party to “step down.”

Some videos show people singing China’s national anthem and The Internationale, a standard of the socialist movement, while holding banners protesting Beijing’s exceptionally stringent pandemic measures.

Videos widely circulated on Chinese social media show hundreds of people in downtown Shanghai on Saturday lighting candles to mourn the dead from the Xinjiang fire.

The crowd later held up blank sheets of white paper – in what is traditionally a symbolic protest against censorship – and chanted, “Need human rights, need freedom.”
Protests have also broken out in the capital city Beijing. One student at the prestigious Peking University told CNN that when he arrived at the protest scene at around 1 a.m. Sunday local time, there were around 100 students, and security guards were using jackets to cover a protest slogan painted on the wall.

The student said security guards later covered the slogan with black paint.

Students later gathered to sing the The Internationale before being dispersed by teachers and security guards.

In the eastern city of Nanjing, dozens of students from Communication University of China gathered to mourn those who died in the Xinjiang fire.

( source : CNN)

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