In China, the largest protests in recent memory have broken out across the nation over the draconian lockdown rules.
Protests are rare in China because of the tight control that the government has on the people, but this week, thousands of protesters took to the streets in Shanghai, Beijing, Nanjing and even as far west as Urumqi.
China’s zero-covid strategy has been more than just about health, but has seemed to be a new control measure imposed on the people. For three years, the Chinese have had their businesses shut down, their families separated, their communication cut off, and their freedoms taken away – all in the name of public health. In 2020 and even most of 2021, the Chinese people were patient and seemed to trust that the government was implementing zero-covid measures to protect the people, but now the control measures no longer seem logical. The rest of the world has opened up while China has remained closed. Citizens of other nations are able to travel freely while Chinese have to get permission from the government to leave their home, shop for food, ride a train, or fly on an airplane.
This week, it seems that the government has drastically underestimated the growing discontent towards the zero-Covid approach, a policy inextricably linked to the Communist Party, which has recently pledged there would be no changing from it.
“We haven’t seen any protests,” wrote one BTJ missionary living in western China, “because we are in lockdown. [Our city] is in lockdown again!” Chinese cities have gone from one lockdown to another in 2022, even though the data has clearly shown that lockdowns did not create any long term benefits and in most cases actually created more harm than good.
One protester in Shanghai told the BBC that he felt “sad, angry and hopeless,” and that the lockdowns had left him unable to see his mother who was dying of cancer.
Now, the question is, will the protests continue to grow and force the government to soften their stance on the zero-covid strategy or will the protests lead to extreme crackdowns and violent clashes in the future?