The phenomenon of protest that has been taking place since this weekend in China against the regime’s zero-Covid-19 policy for more than two and a half years is “unprecedented,” according to Marc Julien, a researcher in charge of China. at the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri). A movement that “contaminates all of China,” he says, and surprises with its spontaneity and ability to affect all social classes and different generations of society. “We have not seen such a social phenomenon for more than 30 years,” continues the sinologist.
Marc Julien notes two triggers for this protest movement. The first concerns a fire in Urumqi, the regional capital of Xinjiang, that killed at least 10 people on Thursday, November 24, as firefighters had difficulty getting into the building, which was sealed off due to the lockdown. The second is the World Cup, which has made the people of China aware through images that the rest of the world is far from being as restrictive as the Chinese regime is in regards to Covid-19.
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While this puts demonstrators at risk of imprisonment, the movement also puts the Chinese Communist Party in a delicate position, the researcher says, because too much repression “risks further inflaming the movement” but “letting it rise in power is just as dangerous to stability.” parties.”