China in the streets amid clashes and protests against the “zero Covid” policy

Covid, new protests against restrictions in Shanghai: several arrests

Covid cases on the rise for the fifth day in a row

Meanwhile, the number of Covid cases registered in the Asian country has increased for the fifth day in a row. On November 27, over 40 thousand cases (40,347) were recorded, of which 36,525 were asymptomatic, an increase compared to the 39,791 cases (of which 36,082 asymptomatic) of the previous day. This was stated by the Chinese Health Commission. No casualties are reported. Since the start of the pandemic, China has officially recorded just over 5,200 deaths from the virus, far fewer than in other countries.

Observers: Protests could hasten exit from ‘zero Covid’

According to some observers, the growing protests could end up encouraging Chinese President Xi Jinping to accelerate the nation’s exit from the “zero Covid” policy.
“I don’t expect Xi to publicly admit his mistake or show weakness, but this wave of protests could cause the leadership to silently decide that the exit from the zero Covid policy must proceed faster than previously planned,” said Gabriel Wildau, managing director of the consulting firm Teneo Holding LLC in New York.

The consequences of the zero Covid policy

The BBC website reports an overview of the harmful consequences that the zero Covid policy carried out by the Chinese government has entailed in the last year. In addition to the aforementioned fire in Urumqi, earlier this month, a family in Zhengzhou said their child died because his ambulance was delayed by Covid restrictions. Last September, Chengdu residents were prevented from leaving their homes during a 6.6 magnitude earthquake that killed 65 people. Also that month in Guizhou, a bus carrying residents to a mandatory quarantine center crashed, killing 27 passengers. In October, a father reported that a 14-year-old girl in Henan forced into quarantine died after developing fever and unable to receive adequate treatment in the quarantine center. During Shanghai’s lockdown in April, people complained about the lack of food and the difficult conditions faced by the elderly, who were forcibly taken to quarantine centres.

A woman holds up a blank sheet of paper with the date of the Urumqi fire in Beijing, November 27, 2022. (REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

The white sheets symbol of the protest

Blank sheets of paper have become an iconic element during the protests, which many now refer to as “blank sheet protests” or “A4 protests”.
In fact, during the various demonstrations, people were seen holding a blank sheet of paper. In a viral video said to have taken place on Saturday, a woman from Nanjing University held up a blank piece of paper before an unidentified man snatched it away.
In another video from that night, dozens of other students were seen on campus holding blank pieces of paper, standing silently. Similar scenes occurred in other major cities over the weekend.

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