China eases COVID rules after protests, keeps wider strategy

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities eased some anti-virus restrictions but announced their tough “Covid-19” plan Monday as protesters called on President Xi Jinping to resign. and the largest demonstration of opposition to the communist regime in decades.

The government has not commented on the protests or criticism of Xi, but the decision to ease at least some restrictions appears to be aimed at curbing anger. However, analysts do not expect the government to scale back on its COVID plan and know that the authorities are very good at preventing consent.

It is unclear how many people have been arrested since protests began on Friday and spread to cities including Shanghai, the country’s financial hub, and the capital, Beijing.

Beijing’s municipal government announced on Monday that it will not erect gates to prevent access to hospitals. He did not comment on the fatal fire last week which dismissed the protest following questions about whether firefighters or victims of the shooting were locked doors or other anti-virus controls.

Wang Daguang, a city official in charge of epidemic control, said, “The pipeline will be kept open for medical transport, emergency evacuation and rescue,” according to official China News Service.

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In addition, the southern industrial and commercial city of Guangzhou, the epicenter of China’s latest virus outbreak, announced that some residents will no longer be required to undergo laboratory tests. He said it is important to protect resources.

Urumqi, the epicenter of the deadly fire, and another city in the northwestern Xinjiang region announced markets and other businesses in areas deemed at low risk of infection will reopen this week. and public bus service will resume.

“Zero COVID,” which requires isolating anyone who is infected, has helped keep China’s death toll lower than that of the United States and other major countries. But it has forced millions of people into their homes for four months, with some complaining of a lack of reliable food. and medical equipment.

The ruling party promised last month to reduce the unrest by changing quarantine and other laws. But public acceptance is wearing thin as the number of infections increases prompted the city to close the control.

On Monday, the daily number of new cases reached 40,347, including 36,525 without any symptoms.

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The ruling party’s People’s Daily newspaper has called for its anti-virus plan to be properly implemented, suggesting that Xi’s government has no plans to change course.

“Facts have clearly shown that all forms of prevention and control strategies have met the test of practice,” the People’s Daily commentator wrote.

Complaints affect at least eight cities. Many protesters protested the border restrictions, but some turned their anger on Xi, China’s most powerful leader since at least the 1980s. In a video shown by the Associated Press, crowds in Shanghai on Saturday chanted, “ Xi Jinping! get down! CCP! get down!”

Hours after the police stopped the protest, people returned to the same place on Sunday for another protest. Many people were arrested in the police crackdown and driven away in police cars and buses, although their numbers are not known.

In one crackdown witnessed by an AP reporter, police officers charged and treated bystanders at an exit near where the first protest took place, even though the crowd was not chanting. is expressing belief in any visible way.

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The British media reported that one of its journalists was beaten, kicked, tied and detained for several hours by Shanghai police.

The BBC has criticized what it says are Chinese authorities’ explanation that its reporter was arrested to prevent him from spreading the coronavirus to the public. “We do not consider this to be an accurate description,” the broadcaster said in a statement.

A spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zhao Lijian, said the BBC reporter did not identify himself and “did not produce” his credentials.

“Foreign journalists should carefully follow China’s laws and regulations,” Zhao said.

Swiss broadcaster RTS said its reporter and cameraman were arrested while broadcasting live but released minutes later. A reporter for the Associated Press was arrested but later released.

Witnesses told the AP of protests in Guangzhou and Chengdu in the southwest. Videos said to have been filmed in Nanjing in the east, Chongqing in the southwest and other cities showed protesters chasing white-coated police or tearing down barricades. used to close the area. The AP could not confirm when or where all the protests took place.

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