Following the administration’s decision to reinstate broad lockdown as part of the zero-Covid policy, Xi Jinping currently faces much dissent.
All around the country, protests started. Other protesters also support efforts to depose Xi as the leader. For example, protesters in Shanghai started a fire as a sign of the public’s opposition to Xi’s administrative choice.
A few weeks ago, the country’s tight Covid regulations prevented firefighters from getting to fire victims. As a result, ten people died in the fire in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. And they attribute the fatality to Covid regulations.
The notion of another lockdown was not well received. Throughout the spring, the Chinese administration put the nation under severe lockdown for two months. Additionally, the idea of another lockdown appears impractical to people, employees, and companies alike.
However, Chinese officials believe the lockdown is necessary in light of the potential negative consequences of a Covid breakout among the country’s major economic centers. In addition, the National Health Commission reports that China detected 40,052 new local cases. And these may catalyze for Covid to once again impact the country.
“Practices have proven that our Covid measures can stand the test of history. They are scientific and effective. Perseverance prevails,” said a piece published in a Chinese newspaper.
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Demonstrations for Xi
Demonstrators frequently roam the streets of Shanghai. The administration’s repeated application of the lockdown, which caused tremendous economic hardship for companies and employees, sparked outrage among the populace. Even more, the Urumqi incident fuels the rage. Numerous folks gathered for a candlelight vigil in response to the disaster. Authorities stepped in, though, and a struggle between the sides ensued.
“We need to be braver! Am I breaking the law by holding flowers? We Chinese need to be braver! So many of us were arrested yesterday. Are they without a job or a family? We should not be afraid,” a man said.
“Every conscientious Chinese should be here. Of course, they don’t have to voice their opinions, but I hope they can stand with us,” said another demonstrator.
“We don’t want lockdowns, and we want freedom! Freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of arts, freedom of movement, and personal freedoms. Give me back my freedom,” crowds shouted in Guangzhou, a city in southern China.
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The affected economy
The Chinese stock market and the yuan’s value also fell once the shutdown started. Experts speculate that the negative response may indicate investors are wary about potential conflict between the government and nationwide protesters. The capital available to lenders was also reduced for the second time this year by the Central Bank of China.
“Cutting the RRR now is just like pushing on a string, as we believe the real hurdle for the economy is the pandemic rather than insufficient loanable funds,” said the analysts from Nomura.
“In our view, ending the pandemic [measures] as soon as possible is the key to the recovery in credit demand and economic growth,” they added.
“For China’s official institutions, there are no easy paths. Accelerating reopening plans when new Covid cases are rising is unlikely, given the low vaccination coverage of the elderly. But, on the other hand, mass protests would deeply tilt the scales in favor of an even weaker economy and likely be accompanied by a massive surge in Covid cases, leaving policymakers with a considerable dilemma,” SPI Asset Management’s Innes said.
Photo Credit: EAF