After demonstrators called for President Xi Jinping to step down in the worst display of resistance to the ruling Communist Party in decades, Chinese officials loosened some anti-virus regulations but maintained its strict “zero COVID” strategy on Monday.
Although the government remained silent on the demonstrations or the criticism of Xi, the decision to loosen at least some of the restrictions seemed to be made to calm tensions.
However, analysts observe that authorities are skilled at repressing criticism and do not anticipate the government abandoning its COVID approach.
It was unclear how many individuals had been arrested since protests broke out on Friday and extended to Beijing, the nation’s capital, and Shanghai, the financial hub.
On Monday, Beijing’s municipal administration declared that it would no longer erect fences to prevent people from entering housing complexes where illnesses are diagnosed.
It did not mention a fatal fire that occurred last week that sparked demonstrations in response to inquiries about whether closed doors or other anti-virus measures hindered firefighters or victims from escaping.
According to the official China News Service, Wang Daguang, a city official in charge of epidemic prevention, “Passages must stay clear for medical transportation, emergency escapes, and rescues.”
In addition, Guangzhou, the largest epicenter of the most recent outbreak of illnesses in China, stated that some citizens would no longer be subject to mandatory mass testing. The necessity to save resources was mentioned.
Markets and other businesses in regions assessed to be at minimal risk of infection will reopen this week, and public bus service will resume, according to announcements made by Urumqi, the city where the fatal fire happened, and another city in the Xinjiang province in the northwest.
China’s case counts have remained lower than those of the United States and other major nations thanks to “Zero COVID,” which strives to isolate every sick person.
However, it has kept millions of people indoors for up to four months, and some have expressed dissatisfaction with the scarcity of dependable food and medical supplies.
Last month, the ruling party committed to lessening unrest by modifying quarantine and other laws.
However, as an increase in illnesses forced towns to tighten controls, public support is waning.