The regime remains firm to counter rising anger in China. The country’s main security body called on Tuesday for a “crackdown” on “hostile forces”, two days after major protests against health restrictions and for more freedoms. The police presence in the streets also prevents any new gathering for the moment.
The Communist Party’s Political and Legal Affairs Commission – which oversees law enforcement – found it “necessary to suppress the infiltration and sabotage activities of hostile forces in accordance with law”, according to the account. report of a meeting, broadcast by the state-run news agency New China. This organization considers it crucial to “resolutely protect social stability”.
The promise to accelerate vaccination
The National Health Commission, for its part, has pledged to “accelerate the increase in the rate of vaccination of people aged over 80 and to continue to increase the rate of vaccination of people aged 60 to 79”. The insufficient vaccination rate in China, particularly among the elderly, is one of the arguments put forward by the government to defend its strict health policy, with repeated confinements and almost daily tests.
In force for almost three years, this policy was the target of demonstrations last weekend in several cities, the most widespread protest movement since the mobilizations for democracy repressed in blood in 1989. In the background also, deep frustrations with the political system as demonstrated by slogans chanted by protesters, some demanding that Xi Jinping and the Communist Party leave power.
After a hectic weekend, the large police deployment in major Chinese cities seemed to have deterred protesters on Tuesday. In Beijing, AFP journalists saw a few police vehicles but no protesters at the crossroads near the Asian Games village where a demonstration had been planned. The very low temperatures, minus nine degrees Celsius, had undoubtedly contributed to discouraging any new gatherings. The frustration with the draconian measures taken to fight against Covid-19 remains palpable all the same.
Fewer constraints in Urumqi
If Beijing is maintaining its strict policy in the face of Covid-19 for the moment, a few gestures of relaxation have appeared in recent days. Thus, in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province in northwestern China, the population could again travel by bus on Tuesday to do their shopping, after weeks of confinement. The municipality of Beijing has for its part banned “the practice of blocking the doors of buildings in closed residential complexes”, according to New China, a process that has fueled popular anger.