"Public protests in China related to the government’s COVID-19 restrictions
have hit the news worldwide over the weekend, following a fatal apartment fire
in Urumqi, Xinjiang last week which killed ten people.
Many internet users claimed some residents could not escape because the
apartment building was partially locked down, though authorities denied this.
There have been reports some demonstrators have called for President Xi
Jinping, the newly re-elected General Secretary of the Communist Party of
China, to stand down. Others have criticised the rule of the party itself.
China’s COVID measures are among the strictest in the world, as it continues to
pursue lockdowns to suppress the virus – what it calls a “dynamic zero COVID”
While these protests are certainly serious challenges to authority, they should
be kept in perspective. In particular, there’s no real parallel to those in
Tiananmen Square in 1989. These are street protests where the demonstrators
disperse after marching and protesting, and the main focus of the protests are
the COVID restrictions rather than wider political principles.
The main issue here is frustration not just with COVID restrictions, but the
inconsistent ways these measures are being implemented.
At least in the short-term, the state’s reactions are likely to be muted.
There’s undoubtedly pressure for change, though how this will be achieved is
hard to predict."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics