Protesters in the Chinese manufacturing city of Guangzhou clashed with hazmat suit-clad riot police Tuesday night, as anti-lockdown demonstrations escalated in the wake of protests in Shanghai, Beijing and other areas of the country.
In footage posted to social media, protesters in Haizhu district could be seen scuffling with security personnel, who were previously standing shoulder-to-shoulder under the cover of riot shields as the demonstrators threw objects at them.
广州海珠区后滘 约29日晚上11点左右 发生群体事件
— 李老师不是你老师 (@whyyoutouzhele) November 29, 2022
The protests mark the largest wave of civil disobedience since the 1989 Tianamen protests.
Police were later seen on video escorting a row of people in handcuffs to an unknown location, Reuters reports, adding that they had authenticated the footage.
Another video clip showed people throwing objects at the police, while a third showed a tear gas canister landing in the middle of a small crowd on a narrow street, with people then running to escape the fumes.
Reuters verified that the videos were filmed in Guangzhou’s Haizhu district, the scene of COVID-related unrest two weeks ago, but could not determine when the clips were taken or the exact sequence of events and what sparked the clashes. – Reuters
According to the US-funded China Dissent Monitor operated by Freedom House, at least 27 demonstrations took place across China between Saturday and Monday, while Australia’s ASPI think tank estimated there were 43 protests in 22 cities.
In response to the protests, Guangzhou officials broke with the country’s zero-covid protocols and announced they will allow COVID-19 cases to quarantine at home instead of being forced to go to quarantine camps, such as the one below.
Huge crowds arriving by bus to an isolation camp in the city of Guangzhou… it is all for your health.
What is the point with isolation rooms after they all mingle like this? Why not just keep them all in the same room together? Or maybe it is not really about a virus? pic.twitter.com/mZ4Z1kOczE
— Wall Street Silver (@WallStreetSilv) November 29, 2022
Meanwhile in Zhengzhou, home to a large iPhone factory that has seen mass protests, officials announced the “orderly” resumption of daily life, including opening up supermarkets, gyms and restaurants. That said, they also published a list of buildings which would remain under lockdown, according to the report.
Hours before those announcements, national health officials said on Tuesday that China would respond to “urgent concerns” raised by the public and that COVID rules should be implemented more flexibly, according to each region’s conditions.
But while the easing of some measures appears to be an attempt to appease the public, authorities have also begun to seek out those who have been at recent protests. -Reuters
“Police came to my front door to ask me about it all and get me to complete a written record,” said one Beijing resident in a statement to the outlet. Another resident said that friends who had posted videos of the protests to social media were taken to a police station and made to sign a promise that they “would not do that again.”
Infiltration and sabotage?
In a late Tuesday statement that did not refer to the protests, the CCP’s top body in charge of law enforcement agencies said they would crack down on “the infiltration and sabotage activities of hostile forces,” suggesting that the protests were not organic (were they?).
According to the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, “illegal and criminal acts that disrupt social order” will not be tolerated, while the foreign ministry has said that rights and freedoms must be exercised within the law.