China rocked by new anti-lockdown protests and calls for President Xi Jinping to quit

27 November 2022, 16:05 | Updated: 27 November 2022, 17:17

Police clash with protestors in Shanghai this morning
Police clash with protestors in Shanghai this morning. Picture: Getty

By Adam Solomons

Student-led protests have erupted across China in the latest public reaction to President Xi's so-called zero-COVID policy.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Mass protests in Shanghai last night were followed by demonstrations at a university in Beijing this morning as the Chinese government sought to impose the latest in a series of wide, severe restrictions.

Violence has broken out between police and protesters in at least seven cities including financial hub Shanghai, capital Beijing, Guanghzou and Nanjing.

Some observers claim the number gathered is the highest to publicly protest China's government since the 1989 wave of unrest that resulted in demonstrations at Tiananmen Square - and a deadly state response.

Crowds stood and filmed as officers shoved people who had gathered in the street and shouted “We don’t want PCR tests, we want freedom!”, according to a witness.

READ MORE: Man found dead and covered in a ‘potentially hazardous’ substances was shot and subjected to acid attack, say police

READ MORE: Just Stop Oil plan to 'march as slowly as possible' around vital roundabouts from tomorrow until Christmas

President Xi is pictured during a visit to Thailand last month
President Xi is pictured during a visit to Thailand last month. Picture: Getty

Since Friday anger and frustration has flared over a number of deaths in a fire in an apartment building in Urumqi.

Locals believe rescue efforts were kneecapped by excessive lockdown measures.

In the early hours of Sunday, standing on the road named after a city in Xinjiang where at least 10 people died in the apartment fire, protesters chanted “Xi Jinping! Step down! CCP! Step down.”

One member of the crowd confirmed that people did shout for the removal of Xi Jinping, China’s leader – words many would never have thought would be said in one of China’s biggest cities.

People called for an official apology for deaths in the Urumqi fire.

Others discussed the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in which the ruling Communist Party had ordered troops to fire on student protesters. One ethnic Uighur individual shared his experiences of discrimination and police violence.

Police detain a man protesting the new zero-COVID lockdown
Police detain a man protesting the new zero-COVID lockdown. Picture: Getty

“Everyone thinks that Chinese people are afraid to come out and protest, that they don’t have any courage,” said the protester, who said it was his first time demonstrating.

“Actually in my heart, I also thought of this. But then when I went there, I found that the environment was such that everyone was very brave.”

China has pursued a zero-COVID policy in search of eradicating the pandemic entirely.

But one-third of those aged 60 or more have not been jabbed, official figures show. That's around 88 million people.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Rishi Sunak is following Sir Keir Starmer in taking questions from LBC listeners this morning

Starmer refuses to rule out council tax hike and reveals hopes for new Brexit deal - now it's your turn to quiz Sunak

Global confirms biggest ever Election coverage plans with Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer to take listeners' calls

Rishi Sunak follows Keir Starmer in taking listeners' calls as part of Global's biggest ever Election coverage

Justin Timberlake's mugshot has been released

Justin Timberlake mugshot released after singer arrested for 'driving while intoxicated' in wealthy Hamptons enclave

Former Conservative Party donor John Caudwell has said he is backing Labour to win the General Election.

Former Tory donor John Caudwell backs Labour in General Election

Sir Ian McKellen was taken to hospital after he fell from the stage during a West End performance

Sir Ian McKellen 'looking forward to returning to work' as he thanks NHS staff for help after falling off West End stage

British teen missing in Tenerife after desperately calling friends from 'the middle of nowhere' on night out

Desperate mum of British teen missing in Tenerife 'beside herself with worry' as she flies out to help with search

Mysterious smoking headless torso missing arms and legs dumped on popular Spanish holiday beach

Horror as smoking headless torso missing arms, legs and head dumped on popular Spanish holiday beach

Hamish Harding ignored warnings over the Titan sub.

Brit billionaire 'ignored stark warning over Titan sub' after record-breaking dive gave him 'false sense of security'

The King and Queen have wished the racegoers the "best of luck" in chasing the "thrill of a Royal Ascot winner".

King and Queen wish Royal Ascot attendees 'best of luck' chasing race winner

Chris Marriott, 46, was helping a woman when they were driven over by a Seat Ibiza car in Sheffield

Father killed by car used 'as a weapon' as he tried to help stranger, jury told

Rugby Union player Connor Garden-Bachop has died at the age of 25 after a 'medical event', New Zealand Rugby has confirmed.

New Zealand rugby player Connor Garden-Bachop, 25, dies after 'medical event'

Mr Sunak was joined by Foreign Secretary David Cameron for the first time on the campaign

Flock of sheep flee as Rishi Sunak and David Cameron try to feed them

Olympic athletes ‘could die of overheating’ due to 'dangerous temperatures' at Paris 2024 Games

Olympic athletes ‘could die of overheating’ due to 'dangerous temperatures' at Paris 2024 Games

Comedian Victoria Vera Blyth was killed by her husband David Thomas Blyth

British businessman shoots his TV star wife dead in murder-suicide after 'row over her text messages' at Turkey home

Tattooed woman in black hunted by police after schoolboy, 12, was brutally attacked during attempted robbery

Tattooed woman in black hunted by police after schoolboy, 12, is attacked walking home from school

A decision not to charge police officers involved in the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation has been upheld by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Stephen Lawrence murder detectives will not face prosecution, CPS announces