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Seven arrested in China as Covid lockdown protest turns violent

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(TibetanReview.net, Nov09’22) – After Tibet’s capital Lhasa on Oct 26, a street protest against abusive Covid lockdown measures has been reported from northeastern Chinese city of Linyi, Shandong Province, where a violent clash was reported to have taken place on Nov 8.

Police said seven people have been arrested following a clash between residents and authorities enforcing Covid-19 quarantine restrictions, reported the AP Nov 9.

News of the arrests appeared on social media on Nov 8 morning but was erased by the country’s censors before noon, the report said.

The report cited a news release from the Linyi city police department as saying public security would take strong measures against those who “illegally violated the legal rights of personal protection of citizens.”

The report said anti-pandemic measures had prompted backlashes across the country, forming a rarely seen challenge to the authority of the ruling Communist Party.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made zero-Covid, or ,rather, zero-tolerance of Covid, a hallmark of his administration, which gained a boost last month after he was granted a third five-year term in power and promoted loyalists to top positions.

These include Li Qiang, the former party leader of Shanghai, where a draconian lockdown over the summer led to food shortages, confrontations with authorities and severe disruptions to global supply chains that have grown dependent on Chinese manufacturing and shipping, the report noted.

While the rest of the world has mostly opened up, China has taken only highly cautious minor steps, with its borders still largely closed and officials under heavy pressure to enforce restrictions.

The zero-Covid policy has not only severely affected China’s economy but also the global supply chain, forcing many economies to look for alternatives and manufacturers to look to relocate to other countries.

Some of China’s most persistent virus hotspots have been locked down for weeks, and in some cases months, showing the limitations of the country’s contentious zero-Covid policy. New hotspots have continued to emerge and cases continued to increase after momentary falls.

Incidences of pushback and protest are increasing in China the longer the zero-Covid policy drags on. In the lead-up to the all-important Communist Party congress in Beijing last month, a protester hung banners from a bridge criticizing the lockdowns in a rare, high-profile show of defiance in the capital. And videos of protests during Shanghai’s lockdown earlier this year were censored online, noted the bloomberg.com Nov8.

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