The South China Morning Post reports:

Protests against China’s relentless pandemic controls broke out in Shanghai and other big cities as well as university campuses over the weekend, in a major test for the leadership of strongman Xi Jinping and his zero-Covid policy.

Open defiance is rare in China, especially directed at the central government and the ruling Communist Party.

The unusual display of frustration and public anger in many parts of the country came a month after Xi secured a rule-breaking third term at the party’s national congress, making him China’s most powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping.

The protests were largely sparked by a deadly residential fire in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang region, on Thursday, which killed 10 and injured nine.

The tragedy prompted widespread fury on the internet as many believed Covid restrictions prevented the victims from fleeing, claims that local officials rejected.

The next day, hundreds of angry residents took to Urumqi’s streets demanding an end to the lockdown that has barred 4 million residents from leaving their homes for 100 days.

Authorities in Xinjiang announced on Saturday that coronavirus restrictions would be lifted “in phases” but the assurances failed to stop protests spreading to the country’s most affluent cities and among young students, underlining the growing public impatience and grievances nearly three years into the pandemic.

In Beijing and elsewhere, residents gathered to confront local authorities over restrictive measures and repeated Covid tests…

––> The full post can be read here.

Meanwhile, Reuters – adding that  the “wave of civil disobedience is unprecedented under President Xi” – reported:

“Hundreds of demonstrators and police clashed in Shanghai on Sunday night as protests over China’s stringent COVID restrictions flared for a third day and spread to several cities in the wake of a deadly fire in the country’s far west.

The wave of civil disobedience is unprecedented in mainland China since President Xi Jinping assumed power a decade ago, as frustration mounts over his signature zero-COVID policy nearly three years into the pandemic. The COVID measures are also exacting a heavy toll on the world’s second-largest economy.”

PS: Published later on 2 December, now read: “Winnie the Pooh joins Chinese Covid lockdown protests“.

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