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White House Responds After Protests Erupt Across China Over ‘Zero-COVID’ Rules

The Epoch Times | by Jack Phillips | November 28, 2022

The White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha said that the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) “zero-COVID” strategy is unrealistic amid the largest protests across China in decades.

Thousands of demonstrators came out in Shanghai, Beijing, Urumqi, Wuhan, Chengdu, and other major Chinese cities over CCP-mandated lockdowns, mandatory COVID-19 tests, mask orders, and other rules. The CCP officially has pursued a “zero-COVID” policy for months and has shown no signs of stopping.

In some areas, protesters chanted: “Xi Jinping! Step down! CCP! Step down!” Police in Shanghai, Beijing, and other major cities were called in to break up the demonstrations.

China protest
People show blank papers as a way to protest, gather on a street in Shanghai on Nov. 27, 2022, where protests against China’s zero-COVID policy took place the night before following a deadly fire in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

“I think it’s going to be very, very difficult for China to be able to contain this through their zero-COVID strategy,” Jha, who was a Newsmax contributor before he was named to his White House position, told ABC News on Sunday in response to the unprecedented protests in China. “We don’t think that’s realistic, certainly not realistic for the American people,” he added.

Jha then claimed that vaccinations “particularly for the elderly” are the “path out of this virus.” He continued, “Lockdown and zero-COVID is going to be very difficult to sustain.”

In the early hours of Monday in Beijing, two groups of protesters totaling at least 1,000 people were gathered along the Chinese capital’s 3rd Ring Road near the Liangma River, refusing to disperse, according to the Reuters news agency.

“We don’t want masks, we want freedom. We don’t want COVID tests, we want freedom,” one of the groups chanted.

On Saturday, a vigil in Shanghai for victims of the apartment fire turned into a protest against COVID curbs, with the crowd chanting calls for lockdowns to be lifted.

“Down with the Chinese Communist Party,” one large group chanted in the early hours of Sunday, according to witnesses and videos posted on social media, in a rare public protest against the CCP.

Epoch Times Photo
Police and people are seen during some clashes in Shanghai on Nov. 27, 2022, where protests against China’s zero-COVID policy took place the night before following a deadly fire in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

More Protests

In the central city of Wuhan, where the pandemic began three years ago, videos on social media showed hundreds of residents take to the streets, smashing through metal barricades, overturning COVID-19 testing tents, and demanding an end to lockdowns.

And on Sunday, a large crowd gathered in the southwestern metropolis of Chengdu, according to videos on social media, where they also held up blank sheets of paper and chanted against Xi, who has scrapped presidential term limits.

Eva Rammeloo, a journalist for the Dutch Fidelity who was at a Chinese protest site, stated that she’s “never seen anything like this” in the 10 years of her reporting inside China. There were more than 1,000 protesters in the early morning on Nov. 27, she estimated.

And one Western academic, David Moser, noted on Twitter: “I’ve lived in China for 30 years, and I’ve never seen such a brazenly open and sustained expression of rage against the PRC govt. WeChat is exploding with protest videos and furious vitriol, and civil disobedience is becoming rampant. This is a serious test of CCP governance.”

“No one likes the CCP or Xi Jinping,” a Shanghai resident told The Epoch Times this weekend, adding that Chinese people are “fed up” with the draconian CCP policies around COVID-19. They noted that the economy is being hit hard.

Epoch Times Photo
Fresh unrest erupted at Foxconn’s plant in Zhengzhou, China, on Nov. 23, 2022. (Screenshot of Stephen McDonell’s Twitter account via The Epoch Times)

“All sectors are suffering. We need to feed ourselves, to support our family. With no income, how could we survive?” the man said.

Users of the Chinese social media platform Weibo left new comments under the last post by Li Wenliang, the Wuhan doctor who officials claim died from COVID-19 in early 2020. Li’s death sparked widespread anger at CCP officials who were accused of preventing him from publicizing the initial outbreak in Wuhan.

Last week, protests occurred at China’s largest iPhone assembly factory as workers were seen confronting police in riot gear. Video footage published online showed workers squaring off with local authorities at the Zhangzhou Foxconn campus.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Source: White House Responds After Protests Erupt Across China Over ‘Zero-COVID’ Rules (theepochtimes.com)

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