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Crowds Take to the Streets in Defiance of Locked Down Guangzhou

The Haizhu district is home to many migrant workers from other parts of China that live in groups of densely packed buildings known as “urban villages.”
CHINA,CHENGDU,Chunxi Rd | Shutterstock
CHINA,CHENGDU,Chunxi Rd | Shutterstock

Residents of Guangzhou, a manufacturing hub in southern China, have taken to the streets to protest harsh COVID-19 lockdowns.  

Video and images on social media showed large crowds taking to the streets in defiance of local stay-at-home orders, some of which depict mobs toppling barriers and clashing with authorities, reports CNN.

The footage is from the city’s Haizhu district, which is home to many migrant workers from other parts of China that live in groups of densely packed buildings known as “urban villages.”

The area has been under increasingly strict lockdown since Nov. 9, which the laborers have complained has prevented them for earning an income and sent the price of essential goods, like food and medication, skyrocketing, according to the BBC.

“Us Hubei people want to eat! Us Hubei people want to be unsealed!” yelled a man in one viral video, referring to another Chinese province where many migrant workers in the district hail from. He is part of a crowd that is confronting local authorities in white hazmat suits.

The size and duration of the disturbances were not clear but related posts were quickly censored from the Chinese internet, according to CNN.

Beijing has been sending mixed messages about its austere “zero-COVID” policy, which has crippled China’s export-reliant economy. On Friday, the National Health Commission announced steps to “optimize and adjust” the rules by shortening quarantine requirements and simplifying travel rules.

But China’s ruling Communist Party reiterated its support for its hardline quarantine and testing rules on Tuesday, saying in state media that China must “unswervingly implement” its “zero-COVID” policy.

The Guangzhou unrest comes as Chinese leader Xi Jingping attends the G-20 Summit in Indonesia, where he met with President Joe Biden. The White House readout of their meeting indicated that the pair did not discuss the COVID-19 pandemic or the origins of the virus, which experts now believe likely leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

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