News and Views on Tibet

Residents revolt against Covid lockdowns in China’s Guangzhou city

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Images from Guangzhou city protests on Monday (Photo/Straits Times)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 16: Amid the ongoing Covid lockdown in China, residents of Guangzhou city have revolted against the authorities tearing down barriers that confined the public within their residential compounds among other defiant outbursts. Videos shared online of the city considered a major manufacturing hub showed residents taking to the streets in revolt against the strict measures enforced by the state.

In Guangzhou city’s Haizhu district and Haizhu district, visuals showed large crowds cheering as they toppled barriers on the streets in defiance of the police and the repressive lockdown since Nov. 5. “They’re revolting,” a person’s voice is heard in the background in one of the widely circulated videos. However, the exact timeline or how many people were involved in the protest is not known yet, as Chinese censors immediately scrapped any related posts from the internet. Guangzhou city has registered over 5,100 new cases of the corona virus on Tuesday as Beijing’s failing efforts to stop Covid-19 faces unprecedented challenges.

“Nobody came to explain and the community’s office line is always busy. And our landlord doesn’t care if we live or die. What should we do?” one of the residents in a video said, while others can be heard shouting together, “Unseal! Unseal!”. The city placed three districts in the city including Haizhu under lockdown last week following the surge of cases by imposing a series of restrictions on residents’ movements and business activity, which was followed by strict measures on neighbourhoods designated as “high risk.”

The deputy director of the city’s health commission stated on Monday that “pandemic containment measures” will be further enhanced in Liwan and Panyu districts, as well as parts of Haizhu and Yuexiu districts. The Haizhu district is reportedly home to a number of migrant workers living in packed buildings in ‘urban villages’. Some of the messages shared online were pleas by the residents asking help from the officials for rent and free supplies to the workers.

Due to the overwhelming pressure and restrictions of the state imposed lockdowns in China, a string of protests have been reported in few places calling out the government’s restrictive and inhumane measures. A rare protest was reported in Beijing in Oct. ahead of the CCP’s 20th Party Congress, where a man displayed a banner on Sitong Bridge against the government’s pandemic mismanagement. In occupied Tibet, around 200 residents in Lhasa city were detained on Nov. 3 following massive protests in late October.

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