The anti-Covid restrictions in force in half of the districts of Guangzhou have suddenly been lifted, the Chinese city where incidents between protesters and police were recorded last night. This was reported by the Guardian, recalling the unusual protests in China in recent days against the increasingly frequent lockdowns that had aroused the solidarity of the US and Canadian governments, which had urged Beijing not to repress the demonstrations.
Guangzhou authorities today lifted lockdowns in about half of the southern city’s districts and announced an end to mass testing, redefining the area as low-risk from a pandemic perspective, according to the British newspaper.
The easing of restrictions, which comes despite the increase in cases in the city (almost 7,000 registered on Tuesday), does not affect all districts, highlights the Guardian, according to which in some areas – including those of Haizhu where there have been incidents – the anti-Covid measures remain in place.
Yesterday Beijing had decided to “effectively maintain overall social stability”. Without mentioning the demonstrations, China’s internal security chief Chen Wenqing had urged law enforcement agencies to “strike decisively against infiltration and sabotage activities by hostile forces, as well as against illegal and criminal acts that disrupt the social order”.
Online footage of the clashes shows police in white hazmat suits with riot shields to protect themselves from stones and glass thrown at them by protesters. Other videos show scenes of people being taken away in handcuffs. According to social media posts, the protests took place late yesterday evening and early this morning in Haizhu District. Witnesses speak of demonstrators arrested by the police.
The Chinese government has threatened to “firmly crack down” on any new protests, following a wave of demonstrations against its coronavirus containment policy. “It is necessary to resolve conflicts and disputes in a timely manner and help resolve people’s practical difficulties,” the Communist Party’s Central Committee for Political and Legal Affairs said in a statement broadcast by state news agency Xinhua in which “hostile forces” are accused of having upset the “social order”. “We must resolutely suppress the infiltration and sabotage activities by hostile forces, in accordance with the law, resolutely suppress the illegal and criminal acts that disrupt the social order, and maintain overall social stability,” the statement read.