Protests Erupt Across China Over Government’s Covid Restrictions

Protesters fed up with the strict Covid lockdowns imposed by China’s government spread throughout the country.


Protesters fed up with the strict Covid lockdowns imposed by China’s government spread throughout the country, with some protesters even calling for Chinese leader Xi Jinping to step down.

  • Thousands gathered in Shanghai to protest Xi’s Covid policies, with some chanting “Xi Jinping, step down” and “Communist party, step down.”
  • Hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police in Shanghai on Sunday night on the third consecutive day of unrest in the largest display of dissent in Xi Jinping’s decade in power.
  • The Chinese government’s policies have confined millions to their homes to try and stop the spread of the virus. Public discontent with the restrictions escalated after the policies were blamed for worsening the death toll of an apartment fire in the Xinjiang region that killed 10 people.
  • China is reporting record-setting daily case numbers. The government added new quarantine centers in Beijing as grocery stores across the capital saw their shelves emptied amid uncertainty over possible new lockdowns.
  • Lockdowns are spreading outside the capital region. 6.6 million people in Zhengzhou were ordered to stay home for five days to help win a so-called “war of annihilation” against Covid.
  • The explosion of public defiance is extraordinary in a country where protests are rare and dissent risks imprisonment, and could represent “as big a challenge as they come” to the Chinese Communist Party.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • The New York Times reported thousands gathered across China over the weekend to mourn the victims of the blaze, with many students holding up blank pieces of white paper as a form of silent rebellion. Questions about whether the fire’s victims were sealed into their burning building fueled the collective anger over the tragedy.
  • One witness told CNN they saw several protesters in Shanghai being arrested and taken into police vehicles during the night and followed up with aggressive dispersal tactics to disrupt Sunday’s demonstrations.
  • As NBC News observed, anger over the Xinjiang apartment fire spiked after authorities in Urumqi city appeared to blame the fire on the apartment building’s residents. Many in Urumqi believe the residents were trapped after the government physically chained their doors shut.



  • Fox News noted government authorities have loosened restrictions in some areas of Xinjiang region in the wake of protests where demonstrators tore down barriers and chanted in the streets.
  • The Wall Street Journal observed the ruling party has tried to squelch nationwide protests ever since the Tiananmen Square demonstrations in 1989, yet this weekend demonstrators chanted “Democracy!” and “Freedom!” in several Chinese cities.
  • Breitbart News called the demonstrations a “direct rebuke” to Xi Jinping as protests spread to 50 universities and at least 10 cities, with some protests turning violent.


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© Dominic Moore, 2022