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Shanghai hit by COVID protests as anger spreads across China

34 Comments
By Brenda Goh and Martin Quin Pollard

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 lift lockdown for all of China!” the crowds in Shanghai shouted

I wonder whether this news was shown anywhere in China, or whether CCP media have done what they can to prevent more Chinese citizens knowing that there might be crowds of their fellow citizens unhappy with the situation? Reminds a bit of Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and North Korea where the authoritarians have control over media and information.

Glad Taiwan is reporting this, and say they will not follow Beijing's approach.

https://www.reuters.com/world/china/taiwan-calls-chinas-covid-lockdowns-cruel-says-wont-follow-its-steps-2022-05-01/

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Keep an eye on this! While it has yet to gain traction in the Western press (in part because it’s happening as I type this) it’s “blowing up” on other social media including Weibo and WeChat where, for the moment, it seems to have overwhelmed the censors.

What gets me are two things:

How widespread the anger is - From Beijing to Shanghai to Xinjiang. This encompasses geographically pretty much the entire mainland.

What the protesters are saying. “We want Democracy. We want voting rights.” I remember the last time that was chanted openly in public. I also remember sadly, how it turned out. I was musing. With the Mrs. that maybe the people chanting are too young to remember how that went last time.

I think the video of the World Cup unmasked and un-locked really generated a lot of anger in China. The fire was the match that ignited the gasoline.

I hesitate to predict an outcome as a lot of us have seen how far the CCP Is willing to go to keep its unitary grip on power. But these protests are unlike anything we have seen in decades, and that gives me hope in spite of my pessimism.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

A large group of police looked on and sometimes tried to break up the crowd.

At least it's only been this so far. I worry that there will a military response at some point and this becomes another Tiananmen.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I was musing. With the Mrs. that maybe the people chanting are too young to remember how that went last time.

Precious few Chinese know what happened in Tianenmen Square. It is not discussed. Most Chinese are utterly unaware of this part of their history, including most Chinese who were alive then.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/11/11/chinese-are-criticizing-zero-covid-in-language-censors-dont-seem-to-understand/

12 ( +12 / -0 )

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20221123-maskless-world-cup-scenes-spark-anger-in-zero-covid-china

10 ( +10 / -0 )

The zero-Covid strategy is the last policy of its kind among the world's major economies, and is partly due to China's relatively low vaccination levels and an effort to protect elderly people. Also partly due to policing the Chinese population.

Protests against Covid measures have become an increasingly common sight. But even this weekend's demonstrations are unusual in this new normal, both in their numbers and directness of their criticism of the government and President Xi Jinping.

Zero covid in China doesn't sound like a success at all.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Translation of banners hung from Sitong Bridge in Beijing; first banner

We don't want nucleic acid testing, we want food to eat;

We don't want lockdowns, we want freedom;

We don't want lies, we want dignity;

We don't want Cultural Revolution, we want reform;

We don't want [dictatorial] leaders, we want elections;

We don't want to be slaves, we want to be citizens.

Second banner:

Go on strike at school and work, remove dictator and national traitor Xi Jinping!

Third banner:

I want to eat. I want to be free. I want to vote.

Quit studying. Quit working. Remove the dictator Xi Jinping!

17 ( +18 / -1 )

I wonder whether this news was shown anywhere in China, or whether CCP media have done what they can to prevent more Chinese citizens knowing that there might be crowds of their fellow citizens unhappy with the situation? Reminds a bit of Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and North Korea where the authoritarians have control over media and information.

The CCP probably does not understand what the Chinese people feel, and I suspect they greatly underestimate the ability of tech savvy young Chinese to circumvent official censorship.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

It doesnt really matter. The middle upper class is the weakest class in all societies. No government will feel threatened by protests that group.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

Rise up, citizens of China! Go after public servants, police and the government. These men and women are all legitimate targets for attack, they all despise freedom and the working people - and unless these scum are taken down, you will never have even a tiny ray of freedom or happiness.

Bring on the chaos and instability! Down with Communist China!

10 ( +12 / -2 )

NemoToday  02:33 pm JST

Keep an eye on this! While it has yet to gain traction in the Western press (in part because it’s happening as I type this) it’s “blowing up” on other social media including Weibo and WeChat where, for the moment, it seems to have overwhelmed the censors.

What gets me are two things:

How widespread the anger is - From Beijing to Shanghai to Xinjiang. This encompasses geographically pretty much the entire mainland.

What the protesters are saying. “We want Democracy. We want voting rights.” I remember the last time that was chanted openly in public. I also remember sadly, how it turned out. I was musing. With the Mrs. that maybe the people chanting are too young to remember how that went last time.

I remember seeing the Tiananmen Square protests and crackdown live on NBC-TV just before the foreign media blackout. And I've seen the grody sickening pictures from that massacre smuggled by Chinese students at my university.

While this CoVid pandemic is nothing to ignore or dismiss (it took the lives of several of my friends and an uncle of mine), it does look like some Chinese are utilizing the situation as leverage for more freedoms. After all, it was bread shortages and rotten wages that led to the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. Those regimes couldn't handle the crises and they stepped down (most of them).

And the CCP has something they can't control - the virus. And people are openly defying them, reminiscent of late 1989! Could it time for a change in China? Could this lead to the fall of the CCP? Stay tuned!!!!

15 ( +15 / -0 )

See how this turns out. Part of me thinks that the more apparent they didn't need to do this, but they chose to do this, then the more likely prepared they are. Seeing how the HK thing turned out, my hopes aren't high.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Rise up, citizens of China! Go after public servants, police and the government. These men and women are all legitimate targets for attack, they all despise freedom and the working people - and unless these scum are taken down, you will never have even a tiny ray of freedom or happiness."

Geez...wake up to what you,re saying dude...you,re advocating for crowds to lynch some obachan that works in a local city hall welfare section just because she is public servant? Legitimate target for attack? Wtf? Get a grip.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Xi Jinping is a class A idiot, the Chinese were really loyal to CCP before the pandemic. He'll most likely keep doubling down on his draconian rule until another Tiananmen happens, it's already ticking

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Everyone has a limit and once they've been pushed to that limit, all bets are off.

What will happen next and how will the CCP respond? Only time will tell.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The Chinese have had three years of extensive lockdowns. They are bat-sh*t and have cabin fever. Will it topple Xi? Probably not.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

They’ll just kill a few thousand and masses will obey, just like Tianenmen.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Xi overpowered the Jiang faction and the Communist Youth League people in the recent 20th CCP Congress, but now it seems that the virus is on the side of the defeated. So a more equitable equilibrium is being restored, and will sustain the power struggle longer into the future. This will keep the CCP busy for a while before it can again devote full energy to attack Taiwan and destabilize Asia and the West.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Chinese police clash with thousands protesting draconian COVID lockdowns as unprecedented civil unrest grips country - after ten died in a fire when building doors were locked to stop virus spread.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

As the article said, Pooh is safe in his power so long as the military continue to back him. Should part of them join with or even just refuse to murder them to suppress the protests, then all bets are off.

In Tianenmen, they brought in troops from the more backward rural parts of the country as they were uneducated and unaware of what or why people were protesting about as well as having no sympathy for those they saw having a better life than them. A clever if cynical ploy that worked, whether it would work now, whether the ordinary conscripts and junior officers would be so willing to slaughter their own people is open to question and I suspect the CCP gerontocracy are equally aware of this.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Xi won't go without a fight, possibly an internal Coup, though should that happen, the situation will more than likely still remain the same - an oppressive Government - the CCP will remain in power, the people oppressed.

However, there's nothing like a good distraction to take peoples minds off things - an invasion of Taiwan would be the most logical next step.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

They need to use the Neem and Tulsi approach. Vaccines do not seem to work.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Xi has made a rod for his own back. The Chinese people must know that they are facing permanent homeprisonment if they do not initiate a change of leader. If Xi has erased all other factions, this may become a real bloodbath. As with the invasion of Ukraine, you remove the leader (Putin) or lots of people die. The West/Ukraine chose the latter option. We will now see how things go in China. Ironically, Taiwanese voters have just pivoted to China, which would normally have been a major win for Xi. Tricky thing, dictatorship.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Expect more zero covid policies for this new covid variant. Symptoms include: publicly questioning authority, not praising the dear leader enough, and workers complaining about working conditions. Be vigilant. It is expected to be highly contagious.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What is unprecedented about the protests in Shanghai (where I have family btw) is that the protesters are openly chanting slogans demanding the resignation of Xi Jinping and the CCP. The latest I have read is that there are ongoing protests in Shanghai even after the police broke up the first one violently and closed the street down, as well as protests in other cities across China and in about 50 Chinese universities. One person I heard interviewed in Shanghai said that up till now they all felt as if nobody had the courage to challenge Xi and the CCP but once out in that crowd they discovered they could indeed challenge their government. There is a growing momentum in the protests and the protesters are becoming bold. That's what happens when one starts to feel like the have more to lose by doing nothing than they have by fighting back. The old Chinese saying that "one spark ignites a prairie fire" may hold true.

I have said here many times that while the state controlled press makes China look powerful and united, the reality is the CCP is riven by competing factions and the rest of the population is seething with anger with no loyalty to their government. As my family says "the government does what it wants and we do what we want." But now nobody but the government can do what they want so the place is a pressure cooker ready to burst. The first little jets of steam appear to be coming from the lid now. Be ready for it blow.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It doesnt really matter. The middle upper class is the weakest class in all societies. No government will feel threatened by protests that group.

The American Revolution was fought by the middle class such as it existed in the US, landed farmers who back then were the backbone of the economy and considered to be prosperous by the standards of the day (American farmers lived better than anyone in any European city except their very wealthy), by merchants, business people in the few major cities in what is now the US, and was led by the wealthiest people in the 13 Colonies. Men like Jefferson, Washington, Madison and Ben Franklin were quite wealthy by the standards of the day and among the wealthiest people in the Americas but they risked everything to get rid of the British.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Ironically, Taiwanese voters have just pivoted to China, which would normally have been a major win for Xi

You misread the elections in Taiwan. It was about local problems that the voters thing the greens are not dealing with adequately. They tried to make it about relations with the PRC but that line of campaigning fell flat. Taiwanese want different domestic policies to address domestic problems.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Protests have spread to 170 Cities across China - they don't seem to last that long, but could "Martial Law" be in the pipeline or war ?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

 “Serve the people”, “We want freedom",

If this 'Communism' truly lived up to the Marxist utopian principals, this wouldn't be a problem at all.

Desert TortoiseNov. 27  02:58 pm JST

Translation of banners hung from Sitong Bridge in Beijing; first banner

We don't want nucleic acid testing, we want food to eat;

We don't want lockdowns, we want freedom;

We don't want lies, we want dignity;

We don't want Cultural Revolution, we want reform;

The Cultural Revolution killed zillions, and for what?

We don't want [dictatorial] leaders, we want elections;

We don't want to be slaves, we want to be citizens.

Second banner:

Go on strike at school and work, remove dictator and national traitor Xi Jinping!

Third banner:

I want to eat. I want to be free. I want to vote.

Quit studying. Quit working. Remove the dictator Xi Jinping!

> I wonder whether this news was shown anywhere in China, or whether CCP media have done what they can to prevent more Chinese citizens knowing that there might be crowds of their fellow citizens unhappy with the situation? Reminds a bit of Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and North Korea where the authoritarians have control over media and information.

The CCP probably does not understand what the Chinese people feel, and I suspect they greatly underestimate the ability of tech savvy young Chinese to circumvent official censorship.

The 'Communist' regimes of Eastern Europe fell in late 1989, they were not fulfilling the promises that Marx and Engels had forecast over 100 years before. That was before the Internet. Now Chinese dissidents have to use other means to RESIST but hopefully this oppressive regime will soon fall.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@Yrrai total silence from you the people have spoken!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

They tried to make it about relations with the PRC but that line of campaigning fell flat. Taiwanese want different domestic policies to address domestic problems.

More like relations with the PRC is no longer a choice. I spoke at length with my TW friend and he said Xi aggressions together with Biden's refusal to engage on Ukraine has left many Taiwanese very scared and it's down to the lesser of two evils, ie be suppressed by China rather than bombed out by China.

The election of CKS's great grand son for a mayoral post is extremely symbolic given the KMT's stance on relations with China. You will find the same when national election results are in. Sad day for Taiwan, very alarming for SK, JP.

Everything else (domestic politics is usually a personality contest), but with Ukraine still being bombed by China's limitless strategic partner, personality has given way to national policies.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

As it stand, the Pfizer covid vax is still only on trial in China, whilst people don't trust China's indigenous vax, and rightly so. The CCP now has a problem it created, no easy out of this one other than to let protesters have a say.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They’ll just kill a few thousand and masses will obey, just like Tianenmen.

Most Chinese are completely unaware of Tienanmen protests and the killing of people there, but the 70,000+ people in the square at the time know. They were there and saw thousands injured and killed. They saw the "official CCP" version of events later with complete lies about the injuries. There were other protests around China which are often forgotten, but people were killed in those as well.

2,700–3,400 deaths is the best estimate, not the ~300 claimed by the CCP. Chinese aren't dumb. They know their govt is lying, but I suspect they don't realize how large and how many each of the lies are.

We see the 50¢ army here all the time deflecting to some other country that killed 47 people (wounding 9 others) in 1970 but know nothing about the mass murder in their own country in Tienanmen Square.

The CCP has been blaming outsiders, especially the US, for everything for far too long. The US didn't lock down any Chinese cities. Since nobody can travel into China easily, it isn't like the US is causing COVID breakouts there either. The US didn't lock people into their flats, to be killed when a fire broke out a few days ago either. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdoyV8dRYwo is the protest that killed 10 people.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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