Zero Sum Game

“The current protests erupted after a fire broke out Thursday and killed at least 10 people in an apartment building in the city of Urumqi in the northwest, where some have been locked in their homes for four months. That prompted an outpouring of angry questions online about whether firefighters or people trying to escape were blocked by locked doors or other restrictions.” The delayed action by first responders was the spark, but the zero-Covid policy is the built up fuel igniting China’s first mass protests in years. AP: Crowd angered by lockdowns calls for China’s Xi to step down.

+ The protests have spread geographically and in terms of subject matter. “For the first time in decades, thousands of people have defied Chinese authorities to protest at universities and on the streets of major cities, demanding to be freed not only from incessant Covid tests and lockdowns, but strict censorship and the Communist Party’s tightening grip over all aspects of life.” At the heart of China’s protests against zero-Covid, young people cry for freedom.

+ Across China, blank paper becomes the symbol of rare demonstrations. So many slogans and phrases have been banned that protesters just hold up blank paper and let authorities read between the lines.

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