Violent COVID Protests Rock Guangzhou

Photo: Getty Images [via BBC]

The Facts

  • On Monday, following several nights of city residents scuffling with COVID enforcement officers over China's "zero-COVID" lockdown measures, protesters in the city of Guangzhou overturned police cars, tore down COVID control barriers, and clashed with police in the streets.

  • The violence comes as Guangzhou — an industrial center hub with a population of 19M — documented more than 6.2K COVID cases on Tuesday. The government began to ease its dynamic zero-COVID policy last week.

The Spin

Pro-China narrative

With surges in cases popping up throughout the country, the PRC's zero-COVID strategy has proven effective in keeping citizens safe from the virus while simultaneously opening the economy. The current public health policy has been working but can only be successful if everyone participates.

Anti-China narrative

Putting aside the human rights aspect of China's zero-COVID strategy, President Xi's policy is also damaging the country from an economic and public health perspective. Whether or not Xi has successfully pushed the country enough to achieve zero-COVID compliance, people may begin to notice his hypocrisy as the economy shrinks — something he could've avoided if he'd allowed his citizens to learn to live with the virus.

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