The Chinese regime tightened security in some cities in the aftermath of major protests that flared across the country over the weekend. The protests were a rare show of defiance against Beijing’s draconian zero-COVID policy, which has uprooted daily life for the past three years.
Police on Nov. 28 stopped and searched people at the sites of weekend protests in Shanghai and Beijing, after crowds there and in other Chinese cities took to the streets in the largest public display of opposition to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in decades.
The large-scale public disobedience, during which protesters called for CCP leader Xi Jinping to step down, presents a major challenge to Xi, who personally advocated the zero-COVID approach which calls for mass testing, aggressive contact tracing, and prolonged lockdowns.
There was no sign of new protests on Nov. 28 in Beijing or Shanghai, but dozens of police were in the areas where the demonstrations took place.
Police have been asking people for their phones to check if they had virtual private networks (VPNs) and the Telegram app, which had been used by weekend protesters, residents and social media users said. VPNs are illegal for most people in China, while the Telegram app is blocked from China’s internet.
The outpouring of anger was triggered by a deadly blaze last week in Urumqi, the capital city of the far northwest region of Xinjiang, parts of which have been under lockdown for more than three months.