Migrant workers stoke protests against China’s ‘zero Covid’ restrictions

The Haizhu district of Guangzhou, where the clashes took place, is a hub of garment production, and tens of thousands of migrant workers from rural China make a living from the small factories, shops and restaurants that line its streets.

But there and much of China, Covid restrictions on work and travel have contributed to a broader economic slowdown, pushing many small businesses to close or bankrupt, leaving migrant workers struggling to make a living.

“People have no place to vent their frustration,” said a local resident surnamed Hu, a contractor whose work was suspended. He witnessed the arrival of hundreds of riot police near his home on Tuesday night and expressed sympathy for the protesting workers. “The police didn’t protect people. They scared people.”

A surge in Covid cases in Guangzhou in recent weeks prompted officials to impose lockdowns in several districts, which are said to have a combined population of about six million Government announcements.

In Haizhu District in the city’s south, about 1.8 million residents have been ordered to stay at home and undergo daily coronavirus tests, and local authorities have erected barricades in neighborhoods where Covid cases have been recorded. Two weeks ago, residents of a neighborhood marched to protest shortages of food and other necessities while being held at home for weeks, local residents told the New York Times at the time.

On Wednesday, several districts in Guangzhou including Haizhu lifted Covid prevention measures in some areas not listed as “high risk”. Close contacts who have been sent to central quarantine facilities are allowed to self-quarantine at home if they meet a certain standard, according to one government note.

China’s leaders have remained silent on the protests over the past week, even as the unrest has drawn attention from around the world, including Comments from the White House, and unsettled international investors. When called and asked about the nights of the clashes, a Haizhu District official and a policeman hung up on Wednesday, each saying, “I don’t know anything about it.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/30/world/asia/china-covid-protest.html Migrant workers stoke protests against China’s ‘zero Covid’ restrictions

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