Chinese President Xi Jinping has acknowledged the frustration within China amid his government’s unrelenting zero-Covid strategy, a European Union official told CNN, in his first known remarks on the protests that have erupted across the country in recent days.
Xi told visiting European Council President Charles Michel in Beijing on Thursday that the protesters were “mainly students” who were frustrated after three years of Covid, and hinted at the potential relaxation of China’s prevention measures, an EU official told CNN Friday.
“Xi also said Omicron is less deadly than Delta, which makes the Chinese government feel more open to further relaxing Covid restrictions,” the EU official said.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing European professional norms.
However, the official could not confirm if Xi uttered the word “protest” in Mandarin, or say what wording exactly was used by the Chinese leader to describe the recent unrest over the restrictions.