China’s Xi faces threat from public anger over ‘zero COVID’

The widespread demonstrations are unprecedented since the army crushed the 1989 student-led pro-democracy movement centered on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

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World News

November 28, 2022 - 3:39 PM

Students light candles on the campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in solidarity with protests held on the mainland over Beijing’s Covid-19 restrictions, in Hong Kong on Monday. Hundreds of people have taken to the streets in China’s major cities in a rare outpouring of public anger against the state over its zero-Covid policy. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

SHANGHAI (AP) — Barely a month after granting himself new powers as China’s potential leader for life, Xi Jinping is facing a wave of public anger of the kind not seen for decades, sparked by his “zero COVID” strategy that will soon enter its fourth year.

Demonstrators poured into the streets over the weekend in cities including Shanghai and Beijing, criticizing the policy, confronting police — and even calling for Xi to step down. On Monday, demonstrators gathered in the semi-autonomous southern city of Hong Kong, where the pro-democracy movement was all but snuffed out by a harsh crackdown following monthslong demonstrations that began in 2019.

Students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong chanted “oppose dictatorship” and “Freedom! Freedom!” Floral tributes were laid in the Central district that had been the epicenter of previous protests.

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