Beijing: The Chinese people protesting against the stringent Covid restrictions have now turned to blank sheets of paper to express their anger. The outraging public dissent , earlier on social media, has now reached the streets of the cities and in the top universities, on late Saturday and early Sunday.
Videos and visuals circulated on social media show students at universities in cities including Nanjing and Beijing holding up blank sheets of paper in silent protest, a tactic used in part to evade censorship or arrest.
You’ll notice anti-#ZeroCovid protestors holding blank sheets of paper in #China. This is not only a statement about dissent being silenced here, it’s also an up yours to the authorities, as if to say ‘Are you going to arrest me for holding a sign saying nothing?”. pic.twitter.com/zY383aruRu
— Stephen McDonell (@StephenMcDonell) November 27, 2022
The building fire in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region has led to widespread public anger which many say have resulted in the recent protests. As many as 10 people were killed in the fire incident on Thursday.
Many internet users believe that people from the building could not escape in time because of the COVID-19 induced partial lockdown that the building was under at the time.
— Reuters (@Reuters) November 26, 2022
In Shanghai, a crowd that started gathering late on Saturday to hold a candlelight vigil for the Urumqi victims held up blank sheets of paper, according to witnesses and videos, as reported by Reuters.
One such video shows a lone woman standing on the steps of the Communication University of China in the eastern city of Nanjing with a piece of paper before an unidentified man walks into the scene and snatches it away.
Similar sheets of paper could be seen held by people gathering on the grounds of Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University to sing the Chinese national anthem on Sunday.
China on Sunday recorded 39,506 domestic coronavirus cases, a record high in the country. The country follows a ‘Zero Covid policy’ that suggests snap lockdowns, mass testing, lengthy quarantines, and border controls to stamp out Covid-19 wherever cases are reported.
Shanghai’s 25 million people were put under lockdown for two months earlier this year, provoking anger and protests.
(With inputs from agencies)