China Protests: Change in Covid Control Policy Expected

China: After the protests in several cities in China, there are now indications that the Communist Party government is about to announce major changes in its Covid-19 control policy. In the new policy, more emphasis will be laid on the treatment of infected patients than prevention of infection.

According to media reports, protests at local levels against the lockdown and the policy of testing everyone for Covid in certain areas were continuing for the past several days. But after a fire in a multi-story building in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province (which killed 10 people), these demonstrations took a wider form. 

Especially the incident of protest in a special institution like Tsinghua University in Beijing has worried the Communist Party leadership. Western media reports have described the demonstrations as the largest since the Tiananmen Square student rally in Beijing in 1989.

Amidst the protests, the White House National Security Spokesperson John Kirby said that no protestors should be harmed during the protests. “We don’t want to see protesters physically harmed, intimidated or coerced in any way. That’s what peaceful protest is all about and that’s what we have continued to stand up for whether it’s in China or Iran or elsewhere around the world”, he said. 

There is anger across the country against Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ‘Zero Covid Policy’. People are protesting on the road and demanding the withdrawal of the policy. Meanwhile, a video of a Chinese official is becoming quite viral, in which he kept silent for a long time on the question regarding the protest. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijin was addressing a press conference on Tuesday. During this, a journalist from the English media questioned him on the countrywide protests against the Zero Covid policy, to which he did not respond.

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