Angry residents take to the streets in China against zero-Covid curbs

Beijing, Aug 30 (IANS) Dissent against the Chinese government’s zero-Covid policy has been growing in recent days, with protests over restrictions in the southwestern megacity of Chongqing and calls from a Beijing-based think-tank for changes to the policy of targeted lockdowns and ongoing compulsory mass testing, media reports said.

Hundreds of people came out in protest at a residential compound in Chongqing’s Shapingba district on Saturday night, with people complaining that the lockdown persisted despite not a single Covid-19 case having been found for 10 days straight, RFA reported.

Local officials eventually lifted the restrictions after hundreds of people gathered in Fangcao around roadblocks preventing traffic in and out of their area.

Video footage posted on social media showed riot police deployed at the scene, with residents standing in the middle of the road arguing with the cops, while officials stood in a human chain to control them, RFA reported.

“Lots of people are kicking up a fuss… the SWAT team is here,” one resident said in a video, adding, “The government won’t ease the lockdown, which affects several thousand [households].”

A local resident, who gave only the surname Liu, said nobody has tested positive in that community in 10 days, but thousands remain confined to their homes, RFA reported.

“The residents met at the Fangcao traffic circle in Lianfang Street, demanding that they lift the restrictions. The government has now agreed to the residents’ request and promised to lift restrictions,” Liu said.

But that wasn’t the end of the matter, she said, adding that she doesn’t live in the compound, but nearby.

“There have been no positives in the whole street, but the lockdown has not been lifted and there has been no protest,” Liu said.

The Chongqing Municipal Health Commission said on Monday that the city had added 10 new local confirmed cases and 18 local asymptomatic infections the day before, five of which were in Shapingba.



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