China’s Covid restrictions spark unrest in Guangzhou

Crowds of people in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou crashed through barriers and marched down streets in protest against strict coronavirus containment measures.

Videos posted on social media showed people overturning a police vehicle in the Haizhu district late on Monday.

“It was quite tense out there last night. Everyone made sure their doors were locked,” said a Guangzhou resident who uses the name Chet and lives about a kilometre from where the protest took place.

On Tuesday, China reported 17,772 new infections on Monday, up from 16,072 a day earlier and the most since April.

Haizhu accounts for the bulk of Guangzhou’s Covid-19 cases

Guangzhou itself accounted for more than 5,000 new infections on Monday.

Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers from other provinces are employed in the textile industry in the Haizhu district and they have been complaining about the hard lockdowns.

Officials announced the first snap lockdown there in late October, targeting dozens of residential neighborhoods.

And on Monday, a lockdown order covering nearly two-thirds of the district was extended until Wednesday night.

China’s zero Covid policy

China continues to pursue a strict zero-Covid strategy with lockdowns, daily mass testing, strict controls, contact tracing, and forced quarantine.

Chinese consumer spending contracted in October and factory activity weakened, government data showed.

Retail sales sank 0.5% compared with a year ago, down from September’s 2.5% expansion, as millions of people were confined to their homes.

On Tuesday The People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s flagship newspaper, said in an editorial that China must “unswervingly implement” the zero-Covid policy.

Local party officials are under immense pressure to curb new outbreaks.

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