“The Communist Party, step down. Xi Jinping, step down!” Those were the slogans chanted by hundreds of protesters in China’s commercial capital, Shanghai, on Saturday evening and Sunday morning, as they gathered to demand the Chinese government end the strict pandemic control measures that have been imposed on several cities across the world’s second-largest economy.
The protest is part of a nationwide response to Beijing’s strict “zero-COVID strategy,” after a deadly fire in the western Xinjiang region killed at least 10 people earlier this week. Though authorities in Xinjiang have opened up some neighborhoods in the regional capital, Urumqi, where the deadly fire took place, public anger and discontent have already spread across the country.
One Shanghai protester, who asked to only be identified as Jason due to safety concerns, told DW that he decided to join the protest in Shanghai after reading about the event late Saturday night. “When I arrived at the scene around 23:40, police had already sealed off the roads leading to the protest site, and a group of protesters was surrounded by a small number of policemen, who were urging them to leave,” he said….