White House responds after protests erupt across China over ‘Zero-COVID’ rules

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha said the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) “zero-COVID” strategy is unrealistic amid the biggest protests across China in decades.

Thousands of protesters came out in Shanghai, Beijing, Urumqi, Wuhan, Chengdu and other major Chinese cities due to CCP-imposed lockdowns, mandatory COVID-19 testing, mask orders and other rules. The CCP has officially been running a “zero COVID” policy for months and shows no signs of stopping.

In some areas, protesters chanted, “Xi Jinping! Step down! CCP! Stand down!” Police in Shanghai, Beijing and other major cities were called in to disperse the demonstrations.

People show blank papers as a way to protest, gather on the street in Shanghai on November 27, 2022, where protests against China’s zero-COVID policy took place the night before after a deadly fire in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region . (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

“I think it’s going to be very, very difficult for China to contain this through their zero-COVID strategy,” Jha, who was a Newsmax contributor before being appointed to his position at the White House, told me. , to ABC News on Sunday in response to the unprecedented protests in China. “We don’t think that’s realistic, certainly not realistic for the American people,” he added.

Jha then claimed that vaccinations are “the way out of this virus” “especially for the elderly”. He continued: “Lockdown and zero-COVID will be very hard to sustain.”

In the early hours of Monday in Beijing, two groups of protesters totaling at least 1,000 people gathered along the Chinese capital’s 3rd Ring Road near the Liangma River, refusing to disperse, the Reuters news agency reported.

“We don’t want masks, we want freedom. We don’t want COVID tests, we want freedom,” one of the groups chanted.

On Saturday, a vigil in Shanghai for victims of the apartment fire turned into a protest against COVID curbs, with the crowd clamoring for the lockdowns to be lifted.

“Down with the Chinese Communist Party,” a large group chanted in the early hours of Sunday, according to witnesses and videos posted to social media, in a rare public protest against the CCP.

Epoch Times photo
Police and people can be seen during some clashes in Shanghai on Nov. 27, 2022, where protests against China’s zero-COVID policy took place the night before following a deadly fire in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

More protests

In the central city of Wuhan, where the pandemic began three years ago, videos on social media showed hundreds of residents taking to the streets, breaching metal barricades, toppling COVID-19 testing tents and demanding an end to lockdowns.

And on Sunday, a large crowd gathered in the southwestern metropolis of Chengdu, according to social media videos, where they also held up blank sheets of paper and chanted against Xi, who has scrapped presidential term limits.

Eva Rammeloo, a journalist from the Dutch Fidelity who was at a Chinese protest site, stated that she has “never seen anything like it” in her 10 years of reporting in China. There were more than 1,000 protesters in the early morning of Nov. 27, she estimated.

And a Western academic, David Moser, noted on Twitter: “Having lived in China for 30 years, I have never seen such a brutally open and sustained expression of anger against the PRC government. WeChat is exploding with protest videos and furious vitriol, and civil disobedience is on the rise. is a serious test of CCP governance.”

“Nobody likes the CCP or Xi Jinping,” a Shanghai resident told The Epoch Times over the weekend, adding that the Chinese are “fed up” with the CCP’s draconian policies around COVID-19. They noted that the economy is being hit hard.

Epoch Times photo
New unrest broke out at Foxconn’s factory in Zhengzhou, China, on Nov. 23, 2022. (Screenshot from Stephen McDonell’s Twitter account via The Epoch Times)

“All sectors are suffering. We have to feed ourselves, to support our family. How could we survive without income?” the man said.

Users of the Chinese social media platform Weibo left new comments under the latest post from Li Wenliang, the Wuhan doctor who officials say died of COVID-19 in early 2020. the first outbreak in Wuhan.

Protests took place at China’s largest iPhone assembly plant last week as workers in riot gear confronted police. Video footage posted online shows workers arguing with local authorities at the Foxconn campus in Zhangzhou.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Jack Phillips


Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times in New York.

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