Violent COVID Protests Rock Guangzhou

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.

Violent COVID Protests Rock Guangzhou
Image credit: JC Gellidon / Unsplash

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.
  • Guangzhou faces the brunt of a national uptick in cases, though cases have also risen in other large cities like Beijing, Chongqing, and Zhengzhou. The government uses surveillance drones and still mandates quarantines, citing them as necessary for public safety.
  • The images of COVID workers wearing protective medical garb standing aside as barriers fell come after deputy director of the Guangzhou municipal health commission, Zhang Yi, said “pandemic containment measures” will be “enhanced” — suggesting the possible return of lockdowns.
  • Officials in Guangzhou say they're planning for more quickly-constructed hospitals in addition to the existing six hospitals and 20K beds in response to COVID infections.
  • JP Morgan analysts suggested, "The infection curve of Guangzhou is tracking the pace of Shanghai’s March-April," and the city will "become a testing point regarding the government’s determination to push for the relaxation of Covid control measures.”

Sources: BBC News, NPR Online News, Guardian, CNN, FOX News, and Telegraph.

Narratives

  • Pro-China narrative, as provided by China Daily. 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, as provided by Japan Times. 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.