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China Covid Protests Highlights: China softens stance on Covid-19 severity, eases curbs

China Covid Protests Highlights, December 2, 2022: Despite near-record case numbers, Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, who oversees COVID efforts, said the virus's ability to cause disease was weakening, state media reported.

Protesters hold up blank papers and chant slogans as they march in protest against strict anti-virus measures in Beijing, on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo)

China Covid Protests Highlights, December 2, 2022:China is softening its tone on the severity of Covid-19 and easing some coronavirus restrictions after anger over the world’s toughest curbs morphed into protests for almost a week across the country. Even as its daily case toll hovers near records, several cities are lifting district lockdowns and allowing businesses to reopen.

China’s ruling Communist Party, in the meantime, on Wednesday vowed to “resolutely crack down on infiltration and sabotage activities by hostile forces,” following the largest street demonstrations in decades staged by citizens fed up with strict anti-virus restrictions.

Chinese police personnel had been flooding now-empty protest sites in cities across the country as China’s top security agency has called for a crackdown on “hostile forces”, BBC reported. Over the weekend, thousands took to the streets to demand an end to the country’s severe Covid measures and some even making rare calls for President Xi Jinping to stand down. But protests started to wane early this week, after police were deployed in full force.

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China Covid Protests Highlights: China softens stance on Covid-19 severity, eases curbs. Follow this space for latest updates from China.

14:36 (IST)02 Dec 2022
China stocks close down with worries that property recovery will be slow, as the businesses reopen

China stocks on Friday closed down on concerns that the property sector is facing a prolonged downturn even with recent government support measures. The path towards the reopening of country's businesses after years of strict Covid-19 measures would be bumpy and uncertain.

The blue-chip CSI 300 Index lost 0.6% at close, and the Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.3%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index and Hang Seng China Enterprises Index both ended lower 0.3%, according to a report by Reuters. In the same report, Reuters mentions that a full reopening in the second half of 2023 is the most likely outcome, according to Oxford Economics.

13:37 (IST)02 Dec 2022
China reports a slight dip in Covid-19 infections on December 1

China reported 34,980 coronavirus infections on December 1, out of which 4,278 were symptomatic and 30,702 were asymptomatic, according to Reuters.

This is a slight dip from the number of infections that were reported a day earlier. China reported about 36, 061 cases on November 30. (Reuters)

12:34 (IST)02 Dec 2022
Urumqi announces reopening of businesses; other cities too ease curbs

China's Urumqi, the site of the deadly fire that killed 10 people and triggered protests against strict Covid-19 regulations across the country, has announced that the supermarkets and other businesses in the region are reopening, as per a report in the AP.

The northern city of Hohhot in the Inner Mongolia region, Shijiazhuang and Chengdu restart bus, and subway service and allow restaurants and small businesses to reopen, according to state media.

Jinzhou in the northeast also lifts curbs on movement and allows businesses to reopen. (AP)

12:24 (IST)02 Dec 2022
Sale of N95 masks go up in Beijing as China eases Covid curbs

Pharmacies in Beijing said that the purchases of N95 masks, which offer a much higher degree of protection than the single-use surgical type, have gone up this week, according to a report by the news agency Reuters.

As China relaxes Covid curbs unevenly, fear fuels residents who are suddenly feeling more exposed to the virus, which authorities had been describing as 'deadly' until this week. (Reuters)

10:40 (IST)02 Dec 2022
Scattered easing of COVID curbs in China
  • A residential community in east Beijing sent a notice saying those who have “no social activities” no longer need to get tested regularly "to reduce the risk of crowding."
  • Testing booths in the area around east Beijing stop operations.
  • Guangzhou resumes dine-in services; no negative PCR test is required
  • In Shenzhen, some will be allowed to quarantine at home.
  • Barber shops and gyms resume in Chonging

China softened its stance on the severity of the Covid-19 virus on Friday. This message aligns with what health authorities around the world have said for more than a year, however, stands in contradiction with China’s consistent warnings throughout the pandemic over how deadly the disease was. Read more here. 

22:38 (IST)01 Dec 2022
In Pics | Global support pours in as Chinese nationals denounce Covid rules

Demonstrators stage a rally to denounce Chinese government's continued zero-COVID policies in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)Student protesters hold up a picture of President Xi Jinping called to resign during a commemoration for victims of a recent Urumqi apartment deadly fire blamed on the rigid anti-virus measures, held at a university in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. On Tuesday, about a dozen people gathered at the University of Malaya, chanting against virus restrictions and holding up sheets of paper with critical slogans. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)A placard featuring Chinese President Xi Jinping, is displayed near the Chinese embassy in London, Monday Nov. 28, 2022. Demonstrators gathered outside the Chinese embassy in London on Sunday night, in solidarity over unrest in China. (AP Photo)

For more pictures, click here.

19:51 (IST)01 Dec 2022
Chinese users play cat-and-mouse with censors amid protests

Videos of hundreds protesting in Shanghai started to appear on WeChat on Saturday night. Showing chants about removing COVID-19 restrictions and demanding freedom, they would stay up only a few minutes before being censored. Elliot Wang, a 26-year-old in Beijing, was amazed.

“I started refreshing constantly, and saving videos, and taking screenshots of what I could before it got censored,” said Wang, who only agreed to be quoted using his English name, in fear of government retaliation. “A lot of my friends were sharing the videos of the protests in Shanghai. I shared them too, but they would get taken down quickly.” That Wang was able to glimpse the extraordinary outpouring of grievances highlights the cat-and-mouse game that goes on between millions of Chinese internet users and the country's gargantuan censorship machine.

Chinese authorities maintain a tight grip on the country's internet via a complex, multi-layered censorship operation that blocks access to almost all foreign news and social media, and blocks topics and keywords considered politically sensitive or detrimental to the Chinese Communist Party's rule. Videos of or calls to protest are usually deleted immediately. (PTI)

17:45 (IST)01 Dec 2022
China Protests: The party-state can’t be underestimated — neither can the Chinese people

Mao Zedong once declared that “the outstanding thing” about China’s people “is that they are ‘poor and blank’”. He called it “a good thing” for “poverty gives rise to the desire for change, the desire for action and the desire for revolution”. Absolute poverty and economic impoverishment might be things of the past, according to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but the latest protests across China suggest that its zero-Covid policy is clearly making the people “poor” once again and not just in monetary terms.

These protests against the CCP’s zero-Covid strategy had erupted following a fire last week that killed 10 people in a high-rise building in Urumqi, capital of China’s minority-dominated Xinjiang province. The perception was that it was callous and unthinking enforcement of anti-Covid measures that prevented rescue services from reaching the building in time. (Read more)

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16:21 (IST)01 Dec 2022
China will hold memorial service for late leader Jiang Zemin on Dec 6: Chinese media

China will hold a memorial service for late leader Jiang Zemin at 10 a.m. (0200 GMT) on Dec. 6 in Beijing, state media Xinhua reported on Thursday. (Reuters)

15:55 (IST)01 Dec 2022
For China’s leader, another dilemma: How to mourn Jiang Zemin

The deaths of Chinese Communist leaders are always fraught moments of political theater and especially so now with the passing of Jiang Zemin soon after a wave of public defiance on a scale unseen since Jiang came to power in 1989.

China’s sternly autocratic current leader, Xi Jinping, must preside over the mourning for Jiang, who died Wednesday at 96, while he also grapples with widespread protests against China’s exceptionally stringent COVID restrictions. The demonstrations have at times also boldly called for China to return to the path of political liberalization that seemed at least thinkable, even openly discussable, under Jiang during the 1990s. (Read more)

13:49 (IST)01 Dec 2022
China launches elderly vaccination drive, fear lingers among citizens

As China works to raise COVID-19 vaccination rates among its elderly, essential if the country is to open up again and live with COVID, many older people remain fearful that the treatment will make them sick, as per a report in the Reuters

China's health authority, according to the report, said that it would aim to improve accessibility and launch targeted programmes in nursing homes and leisure facilities as part of a new vaccination drive among the over-60s. It also pledged to make renewed efforts to publicize the benefits of vaccination.

76-year-old Shanghai resident Yang Zhijie told Reuters that she was scared of being vaccinated. 'Without the vaccination, I already have so many diseases, and after I do it I'm scared the diseases will become more serious,' she said. A 70-year-old Cai Shiyu said, 'If I were fit for vaccination, I would definitely get it.'

13:41 (IST)01 Dec 2022
Explained: The 'White Paper Revolution' in China

Citizens have been demonstrating against the strict zero-COVID rules, and their movement, which is now no longer limited to China alone, is widely being dubbed the ‘white paper revolution’. This is because of the blank sheets of white A4-sized paper many of the demonstrators have been seen holding during these protests.

Many of the protesters have been calling for the resignation of Chinese President Xi Jinping and the end of the Chinese Communist Party’s rule. Read more here. 

13:00 (IST)01 Dec 2022
China allows some COVID-19 patients to quarantine at home

China will allow people infected with coronavirus to quarantine at home under certain conditions, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

One of the Reuters sources, however, added that not all positive cases will be allowed to quarantine at home unconditionally. Pregnant women, the elderly, and people with underlying illnesses will qualify to isolate at home. People who have been in close contact with the infected person will also be allowed to isolate at home if the home environment meets certain conditions, the sources said.

Chinese authorities also plan to step up antigen tests for coronavirus and reduce the frequency of mass testing and regular nucleic acid tests, the two sources added. (Reuters)

12:10 (IST)01 Dec 2022
Guangzhou plans to lift temporary lockdown, following protests

Less than 24 hours after violent protests in Guangzhou, authorities, according to a report by Reuters said they were lifting temporary lockdowns. A district would allow in-person classes in schools to resume and would reopen restaurants and other businesses including cinemas.

11:26 (IST)01 Dec 2022
China softens tone on COVID severity after protests; eases curbs

China is softening its tone on the severity of COVID-19 and easing some coronavirus restrictions even as its daily case toll hovers near records, after anger over the world’s toughest curbs morphed into protests across the country. Even as its daily case toll hovers near records, several cities are lifting district lockdowns and allowing businesses to reopen.

In making those announcements, health authorities did not mention the protests, which ranged from candle-lit vigils in Beijing to clashes with the police on the streets of Guangzhou on Tuesday and at an iPhone factory in Zhengzhou last week. Read more here.

10:59 (IST)01 Dec 2022
Crisis and anger: Reading China’s ‘Zero-Covid’ and anti-Xi Jinping protests

Global media have sought to paint the protests, especially those taking place on or around prestigious Chinese university campuses, as popular outbursts of anti-lockdown and anti-Zero-Covid sentiment. It has been suggested that President Xi Jinping may be losing the political gamble of forcefully implementing his “dynamic zero” policy (qingling). Read the full explainer here.

10:57 (IST)01 Dec 2022
'World should take notice of this rare protest': Countries react as lockdown stir intensifies in China

As protests against stringent Covid-19 measures imposed by the Chinese government, under President Xi Jinping’s rule, continue to escalate in different parts of the country on Wednesday, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom have voiced their support for protesters.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly on Monday said that the Chinese government should “take notice” of the protests happening on the streets of China against the stringent anti-COVID measures implemented in the country. The White House, moreover, in a statement, said that “We’ve long said everyone has the right to peacefully protest, in the United States and around the world. Read more here. 

19:28 (IST)30 Nov 2022
China's Chongqing city to allow close contacts of Covid-19 patients to home quarantine

China's southwestern city of Chongqing will allow close contacts of people with COVID-19, who fulfil certain conditions, to quarantine at home, a city official said in a news conference on Wednesday. (Reuters)

17:34 (IST)30 Nov 2022
Jiang Zemin: Leader who put China on path to becoming global superpower

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Wednesday announced the passing of former Chinese President and General Secretary of the CCP, Jiang Zemin. In a letter written to the citizens of the country (originally in Chinese), the CCP said “Our beloved Comrade Jiang Zemin suffered from leukemia combined with multiple organ failure, and the rescue failed. He died in Shanghai at 12:13 on November 30, 2022 at the age of 96.”

The Indian Express looks back at the life and career of Jiang Zemin, and the long lasting impact he had on China. Read More

17:05 (IST)30 Nov 2022
China’s Jiang Zemin confounded doubters, mended US ties

Plucked from obscurity to head China’s ruling Communist Party after the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989, former Chinese President Jiang Zemin was expected to be just another transitional figurehead, destined to be a footnote in history.

Yet Jiang, who died on Wednesday aged 96, confounded the naysayers, chalking up a list of achievements after breaking China out of diplomatic isolation in the post-Tiananmen era, mending fences with the United States and overseeing an unprecedented economic boom. Read More

Students sent home, police on patrol as China curbs protests

Protesters cross the West Side Highway along 42nd Street as they gather near the Chinese consulate to stand in solidarity with their counterparts around the world demonstrating against China's severe anti-virus restrictions. (AP Photo)

Chinese universities sent students home and police fanned out in Beijing and Shanghai to prevent more protests Tuesday after crowds angered by severe anti-virus restrictions called for leader Xi Jinping to resign in the biggest show of public dissent in decades. Security forces have detained an unknown number of people and stepped up surveillance. With police out in force, there was no word of protests Tuesday in Beijing, Shanghai or other major mainland cities that saw crowds rally over the weekend. Read more.

Explained: How the US response to China protests is different from its Iran reaction

The White House on Monday reacted to the scenes of Chinese citizens protesting against the country’s zero-COVID policies and the revival of widespread censorship. In a statement, John F. Kirby, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, the administration said only: “We’ve long said everyone has the right to peacefully protest, in the United States and around the world.” The statement was in sharp contrast to the repeated condemnations of Iranian authorities for their months long efforts to put down protests against Iran’s government, and particularly their enforcement of regulations that women must wear a hijab. Read more here.

BBC playing victim, says China after allegations of assault on reporter

China's foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian Tuesday told a regular news conference in Beijing that the BBC is "maliciously playing the victim" as he addressed the detention of a journalist from the public service broadcaster. Edward Lawrence, the BBC journalist, was covering the protests that erupted in Shanghai over the weekend, when he was detained and assaulted by China police, the BBC claimed.

The ministry added that journalists should not engage in activities unrelated to their role, according to a report by Reuters.

Moreover, as UK condemned the detention of the BBC journalist, China's foreign ministry attacked UK and said that it should 'stop the hypocritical double standards.'

It also responded to UK's comment on lockdown protests in the country. It said that the British police were violent towards lockdown protesters in the United Kingdom.

  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
First published on: 30-11-2022 at 08:18 IST
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