China: Zero-COVID, Zero Freedom

Protests over “zero-COVID” policies ignited all over China last week, sending the country into resistance against the Chinese Communist Party. 

The policies have been responsible for numerous deaths and month-long lockdowns. After an apartment fire resulted in the death of ten people, videos portraying  “zero-COVID” measures preventing firefighters from reaching the scene began to surface on social media. Since then, mass protest has enveloped the country, and though most of the videos have been censored, the tragedy hasn’t been forgotten by the people.

“Don’t want COVID test, want freedom,” protestors chanted. “Don’t want dictatorship, want democracy.” 

From marching down the streets with blank paper (a symbol of censorship) to destroying lockdown barriers, the Chinese people are displaying their defiance and hunger for change. Protestors have even gone as far as calling for the removal of the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, and the Communist Party in the streets of Shanghai.

We don’t want lockdowns, we want freedom!”

— Protestors

The Chinese government has denied the existence of such dissident sentiments and deflected all questions pertaining to the protests. Similarly, Chinese newspapers have been covering the importance and effectiveness of “zero-COVID” procedures in controlling the virus, completely avoiding the topic of protest. 

“We don’t want lockdowns, we want freedom!” crowds chanted. “Freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of arts, freedom of movement, personal freedoms. Give me back my freedom.” 

Many protestors have been taken into custody or beaten by the police, only sparking more resistance from the people. Despite the government’s strict implementation of these protocols, China has reported more than 40,000 new cases.