By Wyatt Carvalho
China has recently had an abundance of riots due to the COVID-19 regulations they have endured, while the rest of the world has had these restrictions lifted. Top health officials have stated that they should lift the policies as quickly as possible, still defending the policies put in place. This may not have worked, however, as protests all around China are still ongoing and appear to have no end in sight. Some are even saying to have a full removal of their current Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who since Covid-19’s arrival has had a series of mass lockdowns, digital tracking, enforced quarantine, and more. Police have been deployed at many of the critical protesting points in China.
The newest protests were caused by a fatal shooting on November 24 in Urumqi, the capital of the far western region of Xinjiang. This led to public outrage, as the shooting caused at least 10 dead and 9 injured in an apartment building. This has caused the city to be under lockdown for over 100 days, with almost all residents being unable to leave their homes or the region. This shooting hasn’t only affected Xinjiang however, as many cities and regions all around China are having protests and actively going against the mass lockdowns and policies that China has put into place due to COVID. China’s failure to calm down the public has spread the protest even further.
This is a huge factor for China, especially since the Communist Party took control of China. Protesting in China was almost never seen due to the grip that the government had over the people, but this change shows significant importance in China’s current governmental control. Instead of protests on local issues, it’s become protests on social and economic issues that the country is having, and could potentially be a huge turning point for China overall.
China has responded violently to these protests, with multiple foreign journalists being detained, BBC journalist Edward Laurence and Michael Peuker, a Swiss broadcaster were both detained briefly, with Edward Laurence being beaten by multiple police officers. China isn’t accustomed to these widespread protests, and their responses to them prove this.