Anger over Covid rules grows in China

Anger over Covid rules grows in China

| Friday 25 November 2022

As China’s harsh Covid rules extend deep into their third year, there are growing signs of discontent across the country. The rare displays of defiance are a test of Xi Jinping’s leadership and underscore the urgent political question of how he can lead China out of the Covid era.
In central China, thousands of factory workers clashed with riot police officers over a dispute about delayed pay and poor Covid isolation protocols. Protesters in Guangzhou broke out of locked-down buildings to confront health workers and ransack food provisions. And online, many Chinese raged after the death of a 4-month-old girl whose father said access to medical treatment for her had been delayed because of Covid restrictions.
Signs of frustration and desperation with the lockdowns, quarantines and mass testing that have upended everyday life are growing more visible. The anger, combined with outbreaks of Covid across the country that have driven cases to a record high, augurs a dark winter ahead.
Context: Earlier this month, officials said they would adjust Covid restrictions to limit the impact the disruptions have had on the economy and government resources. The latest surge in cases has called that pledge into question, with many officials falling back on familiar heavy-handed measures to try to stop the spread of the virus.
By the numbers: On Wednesday, the country reported 31,444 cases, surpassing a record set in April, Reuters reported. Cases have increased by 314 percent from the average two weeks ago.

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