China Eases Restrictions After Riots Break Out

( After a long weekend of demonstrations against the country’s “zero-COVID” policy, which grew into one of the country’s strongest anti-ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) movements in decades, China loosened certain COVID-19 restrictions on Monday.

Beijing city government authorities declared they would stop preventing people from entering housing where people with Covid live.

After a deadly fire broke out last week in northwest China’s Xinjiang region, killing ten people, that policy spurred the demonstrations. According to reports, pandemic barriers prevented fire engines from getting to the apartment fire.

Authorities in the city of Urumqi, where the fire started, announced that several shops, marketplaces, and public bus services would reopen.

Officials in the port city of Guangzhou said that they would no longer subject civilians to mass testing, citing a shortage of funding as their justification.

A wave of discontent against the restrictions, which can put some residents in lockdown for months at a time, has been sparked by China’s zero-COVID approach, which has supposedly prevented infections from going out of control.

The demonstrations, which spread to at least eight cities, were the first direct protest against Chinese President Xi Jinping’s reign in many years, with some calling for his resignation.

The CCP’s plan is still in place despite some relaxation. According to the official publication of The Global Times, teams from China’s National Health Commission were dispatched to local cities to monitor the application of COVID-19 regulations.

According to a World Health Organization tracker, China has more than 9 million COVID-19 verified cases and more than 30,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus.

Authorities announced the easing of lockdowns in several areas of Guangzhou, a city heavily struck by the current wave of infections, but they did not mention the demonstrations, and the location where violence erupted on Tuesday was still tightly under control.

In one video of the skirmishes shared on Twitter, scores of riot cops rushed in line over what seemed to be torn-down lockdown walls as projectiles rained at them while carrying shields over their heads.

Later, officers could be seen leading a group of handcuffed individuals away.

A third video clip showed a tear gas canister landing in a small throng on a tight roadway, sending people scurrying away from the fumes. Another camera footage showed people hurling objects at police.