In a fleeting moment when Chinese citizens threw off their subservience to government edicts, Chinese protesters on Monday smashed through barricades erected as part of the government’s COVID-19 containment policy.
On Tuesday, China’s National Health Commission said 17,772 new COVID-19 cases were reported nationwide, the highest daily total since April 2021, with the largest number coming from Guangzhou, a city of 19 million, according to CNN.
Daily coronavirus infections in the city have topped 5,000, according to Reuters, leading to concerns that small-scale lockdowns could spread across the city.
NEW – People in China’s Guangzhou city tear down COVID barricades.pic.twitter.com/M28Rw63APC
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) November 14, 2022
“It was quite tense out there last night. Everyone made sure their doors were locked,” Reuters said it was told by a Chinese citizen who used the name of Chet.
“When it happened so close to me I found it really upsetting,” he said. “I couldn’t sleep last night after watching those images.”
However, according to CNN, no changes in policy are likely.
Zhang Yi, deputy director of the Guangzhou municipal health commission, said “pandemic containment measures” will be “enhanced” in more parts of the city than the current Haizhu District where the protest took place
The BBC noted that the Haizhu District has been a hotbed of disaffection because low-income laborers who are not allowed to work for their daily money are unable to have wages to buy food. What food there is amid shortages is too expensive.
Prior to the Monday night protest, there had been scuffling with the white-clad COVID-19 police whose job it is to enforce the edicts.
WATCH: Scenes of unrest emerged in China’s Guangzhou as residents knocked over quarantine barriers and flooded the streets after a Covid lockdown was extended.
This was a rare show of protest against China’s zero-Covid policy, which has been in force for nearly three years. pic.twitter.com/5478ZVEidi
— DW News (@dwnews) November 15, 2022
Reuters reported that current speculation is that the infection picture will get worse.
“The infection curve of Guangzhou is tracking the pace of Shanghai’s March-April outbreak, raising the question of whether a city-wide lockdown will be triggered,” JPMorgan analysts wrote, citing the spring lockdowns in Shanghai.
“It would become a testing point regarding the government’s determination to push for the relaxation of COVID control measures,” they said.
Tonight People in China’s Guangzhou City:
”I can’t breathe” — health official putting his foot on protester’s neck pic.twitter.com/NvPBzOC51r
— Songpinganq (@songpinganq) November 14, 2022
Nationwide, 65 million citizens in more than 30 cities were under lockdown in September.
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