‘End The Lockdown!’: COVID Protests Erupt In China

Screenshot of video posted by @badiucao on Twitter.

Melanie Wilcox Contributor
Font Size:

Protesters took to the streets Friday to end COVID-19 lockdowns after 10 people died Thursday night in a high-rise apartment fire in the city of Urumqi, located in China’s far western Xinjiang region.

Videos circulating Friday on Chinese social media show protesters pumping their fists and chanting “End the lockdown!” Protestors also sang China’s national anthem, which includes the lyrics, “Rise up, those who reuse to be slaves!”

About 4 million residents in Urumqi have experienced the country’s longest lockdowns, unable to leave their homes for as long as 100 days, Reuters reported. The city has experienced about 100 new cases in two days, CNN reported. About 10 million Uyghurs live in Xinjiang, according to Reuters.

“The extent of arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim groups … may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity,” the United Nations office said this year on its website. (RELATED: US Calls On UN To Hold China Accountable For Xinjiang Human Rights Abuses)

Weibo users say the incident happened due to the country’s zero-COVID policy. China has defended President Xi Jinping’s zero-COVID policy as “lifesaving” and has vowed to continue with it despite growing pushback and a significant economic toll.