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China Covid Lockdowns: President Xi Facing Dissent

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Communist Party of China led by President Xi Jinping enforces its authoritarian rule over China, but growing cracks have appeared between Beijing and the public. There have a number of large-scale demonstrations taking place and the Chinese government is responding in a strong manner.

According to data collated by Indian media publication Hindustan Times, no less than 430 civilian demonstrations have taken place since January 2022, triggering some 120 strong authoritarian responses from the Xi Jinping regime. The primary trigger of the protests has been brutal enforcement of Covid lockdowns in high population density areas leading to delay in salary disbursement, scarcity of daily commodities and apparent apathy of the local governments. The cities which have been vulnerable to such protests are Shanghai, Shandong, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Anhui.

Though such large-scale protests are common in democratic countries, it is relatively unheard of in China which deals with dissent very strongly.

This growing anti-establishment sentiment in flash zones is a matter of concern for Beijing as President Xi will be re-elected as the eternal leader for the third term this October-November, reports the Hindustan Times.

China has been facing an upswing in civilian protests due to unbearable Covid-lockdown restrictions. In Shanghai, the violent state machinery response to civilian demonstrations against extended lockdown caused rioting. Beijing reported the forced disappearance of protestors after a peace protest.

Hong Kong authorities have responded to protests by issuing warrants for home searches and arresting protestors, clamping down on freedom in public spaces, stopping railway services, and rerouting public bus services.

Daily wage labourers, factory workers and other industry unions mobilised in Shandong province over delayed payments and salary dues. The administration’s response ranged from intimidation with violence to the detention of protesters, reported the Hindustan Times.

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