China’s Covid policy didn’t have to end in riot and protest. This is why it did | Stephen Reicher

On Thursday 24 November, a fire broke out on the 15th floor of an apartment block in Urumqi, capital of the western Chinese province of Xinjiang. At least 10 people died, all from the minority Uyghur community. Outrage grew at the fact that the deaths were entirely avoidable, caused by China’s draconian Covid lockdown policy. … Read more

China’s easing of Covid curbs does not solve Xi Jinping’s dilemma

At the end of October, Xi Jinping had secured his position as China’s most powerful leader in decades, his grip on the country cemented by a norm-breaking third term in office. At the end of November, he faced the most widespread protests China had seen in decades, mostly focused on Covid restrictions but also featuring … Read more

Vaccines are key to China’s zero-Covid exit but scepticism poses challenge

China’s government looks to be starting to roll back its zero-Covid policy. But after three years of saying the resource-intensive, economically damaging elimination strategy is the only way to go, experts say it will be a medical and political challenge to end it. Much of China’s exit strategy is riding on vaccinations, but this is … Read more

China’s vice-premier signals shift in Covid stance as some lockdowns eased

One of China’s most senior pandemic response officials has said the country is entering a “new stage and mission” in the latest indication of the government’s changing approach after mass protests against its zero-Covid policy. Sun Chunlan, China’s vice-premier, made the comments to national health officials on Wednesday, according to the state media outlet Xinhua. … Read more

The Guardian view on the future of China’s unrest: more complex than it seems | Editorial

Among the Communist rhetoric cleverly repurposed by China’s anti-zero-Covid protesters is a phrase that Mao Zedong employed: a single spark can start a prairie fire. When a political system is so rigid, observers can easily fall prey to one of two conflicting tendencies. The first is to seize upon any significant unrest as the first … Read more

How far could China’s ‘zero Covid’ protests go?

China has been rocked by an outpouring of communal anger at the government’s restrictive ‘zero Covid’ lockdown policies. Could the protests develop into something more substantial? Tania Branigan reports The largest protests in a generation have erupted in cities across China against the government’s harsh Covid restrictions and also, in some cases, the president himself, … Read more

Tuesday briefing: What’s behind angry protests against China’s ‘deadly’ Covid restrictions

Good morning. After days of escalating protests across China unprecedented since Xi Jinping came to power a decade ago, the state hit back on Monday night. “There was a massive police presence [at the expected protest sites] in Shanghai and Beijing questioning passers-by,” the Guardian’s Helen Davidson, covering the story from Taipei, told me this … Read more

Blank paper, equations and alpacas: the symbols of China’s zero-Covid protests

Blank sheets of paper, mathematical equations and even alpacas: protesters in China have found creative ways to express anger at the government’s zero-Covid measures, unleashing a wave of dissent against long and severe lockdowns, the deaths of factory workers in Urumqi, and the censorship they’re not allowed to talk about. The extraordinary protests, which began … Read more

The Guardian view on China’s protests: zero Covid, maximum frustration | Editorial

The extraordinary outbreak of unrest that spread through China at the weekend is of a kind that has not been seen for decades. Protests are not uncommon, given the limited means for people to express their views, but are usually local incidents based on specific grievances. While there have been larger individual protests in the … Read more

Depressed, powerless, angry: why frustration at China’s zero-Covid is spilling over

Victoria Li* has experienced several lockdowns since Covid emerged in China almost three years ago. Being a prisoner in her own home in Beijing made her feel depressed, powerless and angry. “Being stuck at home with my door sealed, I felt unmotivated to do anything,” she said. “I didn’t want to work, I didn’t want … Read more