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China’s Guangzhou in Revolt Over Newest COVID Lockdown

Published: November 15, 2022
Residents protests in the night of NOv. 15 in Guangzhou, southern China. (Image: Screenshot via social media)

Throngs of people in the city of Guangzhou, southern China, rose up in protest against the authorities’ latest measures to enforce the Communist Party’s “zero-COVID” policy. In footage from the night of Nov. 14, angry residents could be seen forcing their way through checkpoint barricades, berating epidemic prevention staff, and in at least one case overturning a police vehicle.

One video shared on Twitter shows police buses described as carrying armed riot police to the scenes of disturbance, while graphic footage purported to be from Guangzhou shows medical workers treating a person suffering from gunshot or some other serious injury.

Footage from the scene in Guangzhou in the night of Nov. 14 shows riot police deploying (L and center), and angry residents overturning a police vehicle (R). (Image: Screenshot via social media)

Among all the latest outbreaks in China, Guangzhou has the biggest caseload, with new daily infections of COVID-19 topping 5,000 for the first time and fueling speculation that localized lockdowns could widen.

Reuters reported on Tuesday, Nov. 15 that there were noisy scenes in Guangzhou’s Haizhu district of people charging down streets and remonstrating with white hazmat-suit-clad workers.

On Tuesday, authorities reported 17,772 new local COVID-19 infections for Nov. 14, up from 16,072 a day earlier and the most since April, even as many cities scale back routine testing after authorities announced measures last week aimed at easing the impact of heavy coronavirus curbs.

Last month, several Chinese airlines announced the re-opening of some international flights, while sporting events like the Beijing Marathon were scheduled to resume in November and December. Reuters reported that according to Chinese officials who spoke with the outlet earlier this month, major changes were coming to the zero-COVID policies.

A Politburo Standing Committee meeting on Nov. 10 used language that suggested an easing of Beijing’s draconian pandemic policy, including the encouraging of “science-based and targeted” COVID controls and discouraging of “superfluous policy steps and a one-size-fits-all approach.” 

Reuters contributed to this report.