After nearly three years of enduring uncompromising Covid rules, lockdowns, and endless rounds of testing, it seems some people in China have finally had enough of Covid Zero.
In rare and stunning scenes, thousands of people took to the streets in cities like Shanghai and Wuhan at the weekend, openly challenging police and the restrictive Covid policies that have isolated China from the world. The immediate catalyst for the outpouring of dissent appears to have been the deaths of 10 people in a high-rise building fire in Xinjiang, which sparked speculation that Covid rules blocked aid and fire-fighting efforts. But the protests also reflected years of pent-up frustration at the social and economic toll of a policy that has come to make less and less sense as the rest of the world reopened.
Protests spread quickly, with online videos showing people demonstrating in cities including the capital Beijing, clashing with officials and even calling for President Xi Jinping to step down.
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