Hundreds of demonstrators and police clashed in Shanghai on Sunday night as protests over China’s stringent Covid restrictions flared for a third day and spread to several cities in the wake of a deadly fire in the country’s far west.
The wave of civil disobedience is unprecedented in mainland China since President Xi Jinping assumed power a decade ago, as frustration mounts over his signature zero-Covid policy nearly three years into the pandemic. The Covid measures are also exacting a heavy toll on the world’s second-largest economy.
Coronavirus cases in China have just touched a new daily record, having crossed 30,000 new infections in a 24-hour period for the first time. China’s National Health Commission reported 31,444 confirmed new infections on Thursday morning, higher than the previous record achieved in mid-April, according to a report by the South China Morning Post.
The US and France are reporting higher daily numbers right now; until a few days ago, Germany too was reporting more than 30,000 cases a day. But China is different — mainly because of the extremely restrictive containment strategy it has adopted, with a fair degree of success. When China last reported such high numbers in March-April this year, it was the first time the country had even seen 1,000 cases in a day.