China: After deadly fire, protests break out against Covid policy

The death of 10 people in a fire in Urumquiin western China, raised the anger of the population at the increase in confinements by Covid-19 and sparked unusual protests in the region.

The Chinese authorities assure that the building in which the fire broke out last Thursday was a low-risk area for Covid and residents could leave their homes.

In a press conference this Saturday, they denied that the measures in follow-up to the confinement policy had made escape and rescue difficult.

However, the neighbors denounce that they were only authorized to go down at certain times.

Videos shared on social networks show the last screams of the residents, while from other buildings, the neighbors can only observe without being able to help hims because they were all locked up.

“End the blockade!”chanted the crowd that took to the streets of the capital of Xinjiang, a province with a Uyghur majority.

Ignoring the low temperatures, dozens of residents came out to the main square and with raised fists sang their National anthem.

“Rise up, those who refuse to be slaves!”people are heard chanting in video that have already been downloaded from Chinese social networks, but that Reuters has been able to verify.

Photo: Reuters

Since the start of the pandemic, China has opted for a zero policy to deal with Covid.

In Urumqi, many of its 4 million residents have been subjected to some of the longest lockdowns in the country, with a ban on leaving their homes for up to 100 days.

In the capital Beijing, 2,700km away, some residents under lockdowns staged small-scale protests or clashed with local officials over the movement restrictions imposed, some managing to pressure them to They will pick them up ahead of schedule.

“The urumqi fire It has got everyone in the country on edge,” said Sean Li, a Beijing resident.