In Shanghai, hundreds of young people demonstrate against the zero covid policy after the Urumqi tragedy

In Shanghai, hundreds of young people demonstrate against the zero covid policy after the Urumqi tragedy

An extraordinary protest in China: On Saturday, November 26, hundreds of young people gathered in central Shanghai to shout “Xi Jinping, resign! » or “Down with the Communist Party!” » To commemorate the victims of a fire that killed ten people in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang in the west.. For many, the fire is yet another drama of the Zero Covid strategy: help was blocked when it arrived at the site due to health restrictions.

In Shanghai, the word spread on social networks: a few dozen people who found themselves at a crossroads on Urumqi Street to lay candles and some flowers were joined by hundreds of others, moved by the tragedy. And angry at a policy that keeps going. hinder their daily lives.

Immediately midnight, the crowd is compact, and a cordon of hundreds of police officers is already guarding the surrounding streets. In addition to the few offerings placed on the ground, the mourners carry a white sheet. “This blank page, nothing is written on it, but it is implied, it is very logical. Our country will not allow us to write anything here. But even if we do not write anything, people know what we like to say, explains a young woman of barely 30. What I feel is that I am free for a few hours: even if it is very short, for once, I can say what I want to say. » Hearing this, her friend burst into tears. “It’s the first time I’ve seen this in China.”She justifies swallowing her tears.

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“Don’t forget 6-4”

The people gathered are mostly young people: it is the generation in need of travel and freedom, connected to the rest of the world, that suffers most from the restrictions on movement imposed by the health strategy for nearly three years. Slogans chanted by the most daring lifters of the crowd in chorus. The first directly targets the zero Covid policy: “Health symbol, damn you…” At regular intervals, the audience sings the Chinese National Anthem, a revolutionary song that begins with “Upright! People who no longer want to be slaves! » In April, during Shanghai’s confinement, these words were blocked on Weibo, a Twitter-like network.

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But little by little, some dare to pursue more political topics and demand freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Others claim: “Don’t forget 6-4”Referring to the Tiananmen Massacre, June 4, 1989. When someone dares to throw “Xi Jinping, resignation”The crowd seemed excited: chanting the slogan fervently, as if Al-Na’i had broken a taboo. Another launch: “Down with the Communist Party”taboo here too.

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