An article published on Sunday by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) state propaganda outlet Xinhua News boasts about China’s “thriving” economy and the “proactive actions taken and across-the-board progress made in its opening-up endeavors.”
The article goes on to say that China is calling for efforts to “actively expand opening-up and comprehensively upgrade regional economic cooperation.”
The article is a sharp contradiction to reports that thousands of people have taken to the streets at universities and on the streets of major cities to protest COVID lockdowns and testing and the overbearing control of the Communist Party over all aspects of Chinese life.
New from @hrw: "Chinese authorities have badly underestimated the willingness of people across China to risk all to have their rights & liberties respected. Govs should urge the Chinese authorities not to suppress the protests" – @Yaqiu #ChinaProtestshttps://t.co/2p9mthLww8
— Sophie McNeill (@Sophiemcneill) November 28, 2022
Anger over the death of at least ten people killed in a building fire has caused rioting in the streets. Reports say fire engines were blocked by pandemic control barriers or by cars stranded by owners forcibly placed in quarantine.
On Friday, videos began to circulate on the internet showing residents in Urumqi marching to a government building chanting, “end lockdowns.”
In some of the videos, protesters on the streets could be heard chanting, “Down with Xi Jinping!” and “Down with the Communist Party!” In other videos, hundreds of people can be heard chanting, “Give me liberty or give me death!” It is unsafe to criticize the Communist party in China vocally.
Demonstrators across China held up sheets of white paper as a metaphor for the censorship practiced by China and the wiping out of articles and social media accounts of people who oppose the regime.
Social media videos show police using pepper spray to break up the crowds and making arrests when people refused to leave.
China heavily censors its media, and many of the videos were quickly taken down.
Xinjiang, a region of 25 million people, has been under lockdown for more than 100 days.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman dismissed the reports of dissenting citizens. Zhao Lijian said that authorities had been “making adjustments” to their Covid policies based on “realities on the ground.”
State-sponsored media did not mention the protests. Instead, they praised the efficacy of their “scientific” lockdown policies.