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China's repressive action against Covid protesters 'shows sign of weakness', says Blinken

ANI | Updated: Dec 01, 2022 02:32 IST

Washington [US], December 1 (ANI): As millions have been affected by nearly three years of mass testing, quarantines and lockdowns, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on Wednesday, called China's "repressive" action against the protesters over the Covid lockdown "a sign of weakness."
During an interview with Andrea Mitchell of NBC, Blinken said, "I think any country where you see people trying to speak out, trying to speak up, to protest peacefully, to make known their frustrations, whatever the issue is - in any country where we see that happening and then we see the government take massive repressive action to stop it, that's not a sign of strength, that's a sign of weakness," according to the statement released by US Department of State.
In responding to a question about the protest in China over the covid lockdown, the US Secretary of State said, "Well, I can't speak to what this says about his standing. But what I can say is this: First, the zero-COVID policy that we've seen in China is not something that we would do, and we've been focused on making sure that people have safe and effective vaccines, that we have tested, that we have treatment, and that has proven effective."
He further said that China has to figure out a way that answers the health needs and also answers the needs of the people and to deal with Covid. "We can't address that for them," he added.
Over the weekend, thousands of people in Shanghai, China's biggest city and financial centre, began publicly protesting against the government's strict Covid-19 measures and denouncing the Chinese Communist Party's authoritarian rule, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
University students across the country gathered on their campuses to demonstrate by holding blank papers reflecting the censorship. Protesters took to the streets in Wuhan, where Covid-19 originated, Chengdu, Beijing, and other large cities.
The massive protests in China was triggered after 10 people were killed in a deadly fire on November 24 at an apartment building in Urumqi, the capital of China's northwest Xinjiang region.
Earlier, in the wee hours of Sunday, angry crowds took to the streets of Shanghai, with protesters calling for an end to lockdowns, as China grapples with mounting public unrest against its zero-Covid policy, reported Al Jazeera.
The unprecedented demonstrations are being witnessed in China, the biggest wave of civil disobedience since the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
Raising slogans "down with Xi", hundreds of protesters have even demanding the ouster of Chinese President, who for almost three years has presided over a strategy of mass testing, brute-force lockdowns, mandatory quarantines, and digital tracking that has led to a terrible human and financial cost.
Since this weekend's protests, censorship has gone into overdrive on Chinese social media platforms, to stop people from seeing and discussing them. Tens of millions of posts have been filtered from search results.
The crackdown on protesters and the brief detention of BBC reporter has also impacted adversely the relations between UK-China ties. (ANI)