China: Protesters clash with Covid enforcement officials in Jinan
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Defence Intelligence Analyst Paul Monk has suggested current anti-lockdown backlash in China could be a “serious turning point” for Xi Jinping’s regime. The protests are believed to have been triggered after a number of people lost their lives in an apartment building fire in Urumqi after emergency services were reportedly delayed by lockdown rules.
Mr Monk told Sky News Australia: “It seems to me various authoritarian regimes crack at different, often unpredictable points due to things that they didn’t foresee.
“This could be a very serious turning point for China.”
Footage from the frontline of protests in the city of Guangzhou showed riot police in hazmat suits dragging people out of the demonstration.
Missiles and bottles were hurled at the police by the angry protestors.
Hundreds of SUVs, vans and armored vehicles with flashing lights were parked along city streets Wednesday while police and paramilitary forces conducted random ID checks and searched people’s mobile phones for photos, banned apps or other potential evidence that they had taken part in the demonstrations.
The number of people who have been detained at the demonstrations and in follow-up police actions is not known.
Political commentator Quentin Letts believes that Xi Jinping has backed himself into a corner of China’s “zero Covid” policy.
Mr Letts told Good Morning Britain: “There’s a very good piece in The Telegraph today, by Sherelle Jacobs saying that this zero-tolerance Covid approach by China has become China’s version of the Ukraine war.
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“They’re not going to win this thing and President Xi has got himself into a terrible corner.
“And it’s very difficult to see how his authority is improved.
He added “But the ultimate sort of political reality of this political physics is that freedom will out and the Chinese authorities are fighting a losing battle.”
In China, some anti-virus restrictions were eased Monday in a possible effort to defuse public anger following the weekend protests in at least eight cities.
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But the ruling Communist Party shows no signs of dropping its “zero Covid” strategy, which has confined millions of people to their homes in an attempt to isolate every infection.
Authorities have ordered mass testing and imposed other controls in areas across China following a spike in infections.
Most protesters complain about excessive restrictions, but some turned their anger at Xi, China’s most powerful leader since at least the 1980s.
During one protest a crowd in Shanghai on Saturday chanted, “Xi Jinping! Step down! CCP! Step down!”
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