What are China’s new COVID restrictions? What are the protests?


Demonstrators stage a rally to denounce Chinese government’s continued zero-COVID policies in Seoul, South Korea.

Demonstrators stage a rally to denounce the Chinese government’s continued zero-COVID-19 policies in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022.

Ahn Young-joon, Associated Press

Chinese officials in some major cities have begun easing some of the severe COVID-19 protocols of China’s “zero-COVID” strategy, following a series of widespread protests throughout the country.

In the announcements about lifting some restrictions, officials did not mention the protests.

What COVID-19 restrictions were eased in China’s zero-COVID policy?

In Beijing, officials announced the city will no longer erect gates surrounding an apartment where a positive infection has been discovered, PBS NewsHour reported.

Zhengzhou will be resuming business, opening up grocery stores, gyms and restaurants, per Al Jazeera.

Harsh restrictions were quickly lifted on Wednesday in Guangzhou after protests turned violent in the city. The city is letting up on testing requirements and restrictions on movement, according to BBC.

What caused the protests in China?

Critics of the Chinese government take biggest issue with the “zero-COVID” policy. They are concerned about the negative impacts on the nation’s economy and well-being.

The height of the angst against the restrictions was after 10 people died in a burning apartment building that was locked down, preventing those in distress from escaping, per Reuters.

President Xi Jinping hasn’t addressed the protests, and those close to the administration expect China to follow strict COVID-19 guidelines until more citizens get vaccinated.

Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian mentioned the COVID-19 death toll in the United States. and said the U.S. “is in no position to point fingers at China’s COVID response,” per The Associated Press.

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