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Chinese merchants demand rent exemptions to cushion economic hit by Zero-COVID policy

ANI | Updated: Jun 16, 2022 16:40 IST

Beijing [China], June 16 (ANI): Despite nearly two weeks since Shanghai began "unlocking", businessmen and merchants in China's financial hub still are finding it difficult to resume their businesses and are demanding exemption on rents they are paying for their shops.
Videos posted by Chinese social media accounts show merchants protesting and demanding rent refunds. It can be clearly seen in the videos that people are holding placards with "No refund/cancellation of rent, no reopening" written on them.
The protestors in the videos are seen to be suppressed by a large number of public security officials, as per the media outlet. Calling for a relief package from the government, shop owners in Shanghai have held a rally. These citizens are bearing the brunt of the economic fallout from China's stringent COVID-19 lockdown measures in Shanghai, reported NHK.
During the protest, over 100 owners gathered in a central part of the city, which is home to garment wholesalers and retailers in other fields. According to the protestors, they lost the opportunity to make money during the lockdown period, which came to an end on June 1 for much of the city.
It is to be noted that authorities in Shanghai have revealed a plan to exempt tenants of state-run commercial complexes from rent payments. However, this relief package is of no avail to the ailing protestors.
This is because the protesters are not eligible for the exemptions, as they rent privately-run properties. One of the participants said her revenue dwindled to nothing during the lockdown period.
The participant did not only speak for herself but also for other shop owners like her. It was the latest sign of growing discontent with the authorities over their handling of the coronavirus outbreak. But the protest was quickly cut short by the police, as per the media portal.

Meanwhile, Shanghai residents, at the hands of China's Zero-Covid policy, were being subjected to unprecedented neglect, mistreatment, and abuse, with leaked videos on social media confirming blatant human rights violations.
Disguised as "pandemic prevention", these violations have exposed the cruel and inhumane side of Communist China's system. It also brings to light China's rigid and ineffective governance of the country.
Many leaked videos on social media show President Xi Jinping's enforcers in white medical-isolation gowns beating people up, taking them away, or welding doors and shutting entryways with metal bars.
Tens of thousands of people were being detained in makeshift quarantine camps. These so-called pandemic rules have inflicted great misery on Shanghai residents. Men and women, adults and children, were crowded together under one roof, with insufficient food and a lack of other basic necessities.
The cruel treatment by the Chinese government has raised awareness in people in regard to their political and civil rights. Not only in Shanghai, but across the country people are now speaking out for themselves and their communities.
Beijing's brutality caused many people to protest for their rights and stand up against the government. In the video 'Voice of April', Shanghai residents depict the endless suffering of people under the zero-Covid policy.
The video went viral and unveiled China's censorship of its own citizens. Moreover, a Shanghai-based rapper Astro released a song, "New Slave," to condemn China's abuse of power and its neglect of human life.
Expressing concern and condemnation of the government's stern Zero-COVID policies, Shanghai residents have formed a self-assistance and self-governance commission, unequivocally demanding democracy and freedom, and urging mass civil disobedience.
Xi Jinping has paid no regard to the sufferings of the people and has only acted upon his own will and interests. (ANI)