China Seeks to End Extraordinary Covid Protests

Officials in China are seeking to end historic protests of Covid lockdowns in China over the weekend. The weekend’s uprising poses an unprecedented political challenge for Chinese President Xi Jinping, as crowds called for him to step down.

Large crowds took to the streets in Beijing, Shanghai and elsewhere to protest against China’s zero-Covid policy, after a deadly fire broke out and delayed a lifesaving response. The blaze took more than three hours to extinguish, according to authorities — in large part because the building’s entrances had been blocked off and many of the doors locked, according to neighbors and witnesses. Ten people died in the incident.

Protests are relatively rare in China, where the government has traditionally imprisoned dissidents and heavily censored social media.

The Twitter team in China grappled with a flood of content apparently aimed at obscuring any searches for information on the protests.

Several Chinese-language accounts, some dormant for months or years, came to life early Sunday and started spamming the service with links to escort services and other adult offerings alongside city names.

A BBC journalist was covering a protest in Shanghai on Sunday as an accredited journalist but was arrested and detained by Chinese authorities.

Ed Lawrence was beaten and kicked by the police during his arrest, the BBC said, adding that he was held for several hours before being released.

NPR, New York Times, BBC

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