China eases COVID rules after nationwide protests, keeps wider COVID-zero strategy

November 29, 2022 7:01 am

The ruling party newspaper called for the anti-virus strategy to be carried out effectively, indicating the government has no plans to change course from COVID zero. [Source: ABC News]

Chinese authorities have eased some anti-virus rules but affirmed their severe “zero COVID” strategy after protesters demanded President Xi Jinping resign in the biggest show of opposition to the ruling Communist Party in decades.

The government made no comment on the protests or the criticism of Xi, but the decision to ease at least some of the restrictions appeared to be aimed at quelling anger.

Still, analysts don’t expect the government to back down on its COVID zero strategy and note authorities are adept at stifling dissent.

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It wasn’t clear how many people were detained since protests began on Friday and spread to cities including Shanghai, the country’s financial center, and the capital of Beijing.

The ruling party promised last month to reduce disruption by changing quarantine and other rules. But public acceptance is wearing thin after a spike in infections prompted cities to tighten controls.