Monday, November 28, 2022

Background on the Chinese protests...

From The Dispatch this morning...
This latest and most far-reaching round of protests began Friday in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang region, one day after a fire in an apartment building killed at least 10 people. Some in the city have been under lockdown for four months, and videos shared on social media suggested COVID-19 lockdown measures may have slowed firefighters’ rescue efforts. A candlelight vigil for those who died in the fire quickly popped up in Shanghai, where people went hungry during two months of sudden lockdowns earlier this year. Until now, criticism of China’s COVID-19 policies had remained largely online—Weibo was abuzz in September when a bus transporting people to quarantine crashed and killed 27. But this weekend’s demonstrators reassembled multiple times after security officials dispersed crowds.

The police response seems to have grown increasingly aggressive over the weekend—officers reportedly detained, pepper sprayed, and beat some protestors—though there haven’t yet been reports of mass detentions. The BBC also said that security officials had detained and beat journalist Ed Lawrence while he covered a protest in Shanghai, telling the broadcaster he’d been arrested “for his own good in case he caught COVID from the crowd.”

The demonstrations present a dilemma for Chinese leaders. The relative easing of COVID measures in recent weeks has accompanied a record surge in infections, and with lagging vaccine uptake, China's inadequate healthcare system could genuinely be overwhelmed if zero-COVID policies are abandoned altogether. But lockdowns have already taken a heavy economic toll—shutting down small businesses and major manufacturers alike—and the Chinese people’s patience is evidently wearing thin.
Click through to RTWT. (May require a free subscription or the ability to use an archive site to bypass a paywall. I'm not your mom. You can figure out this intertubes stuff if I can, it's not hard.)