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One of the biggest rebellions in the history of China

From Lhasa and Xinjiang to Beijing and Shanghai, protests have erupted across China in a rare show of dissent against the ruling Communist Party (CCP) sparked by anger over the country’s increasingly tormenting zero-Covid policy. The protests have taken the shape of a colossal rebellion with no parallels in the history of China. As numbers surged at demonstrations in multiple major cities over the weekend, so too have the range of grievances voiced – with some calling for greater democracy and freedom. Now the rebellion has spread from some major cities to the hinterland. Hundreds of protesters have even called for the removal of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who for nearly three years has overseen a strategy of mass testing, brute-force lockdowns, enforced quarantine, and digital tracking that has come at a devastating human and economic cost. Here is the timeline of the events that have taken place in China since the announcement of the 20th Party Congress of the CPC in October. Sitong Bridge protest by Peng Lifa Date: 13 October 2022Place : Northwestern Haidian district A solitary protestor hung two banners calling for Xi Jinping to be removed from office and exhorting the populace to “Be citizens, not slaves,” an extremely rare act of overt political defiance on the eve of the 20th Party Congress. Peng Lifa hung the banners from the busy Sitong Bridge in Beijing’s northwestern Haidian district and lit a fire in an apparent bid to draw attention. Police later removed the banners. The red and white hand-lettered banner at left read: “We want food, not COVID tests; reform, not Cultural Revolution. We want freedom, not lockdowns; elections, not rulers. We want dignity, not lies. Be citizens, not slaves.” The banner at right read: “Boycott classes. Boycott work. Depose the traitorous despot Xi Jinping.” Peng Lifa The 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Date: 16 October 2022Place: Beijing The CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping secured an unprecedented third term as China’s top leader at the Congress. This was considered one of the major triggers for the rebellion by many experts The Tibetan protests in Lhasa Date: 26 October 2022Center of the Protest: Lhasa Angry residents in Tibet’s capital Lhasa took to the streets to protest the harsh COVID-19 lockdown that Chinese authorities have imposed on them for more than three months. They were the first major protests in the city since the 2008 Tibetan Uprising. Videos obtained by Ij-Reportika show scores of protesters on the streets. A daytime video shows people mostly standing or milling about, with officials in white protective suits standing nearby. In two nighttime videos, crowds and cars block a large street and the crowd surges forward while raising their voices. The Zhengzhou Labor Crisis Date:  27 October 2022Center of the Protest: Zhengzhou As lockdowns returned to Zhengzhou, thousands of laborers working in Foxconn (China’s largest Apple iPhone manufacturer), fled the factory in China’s central province of Henan due to the lack of food and medical care. Guangzhou Protest Date:  15 November 2022 till nowCenter of the protest: the Haizhu district  As lockdowns returned to Guangzhou in early November, residents of the Haizhu district marched in the streets at night, breaking through metal barriers and demanding an end to the lockdown. Zhengzhou Labor Uprising Date: 22 November 2022 till nowCenter of the protest: Zhengzhou  A labor uprising over COVID-19 restrictions and contract violations by Apple at Foxconn’s iPhone factory in central China unfolded in Zhengzhou. #LaborUprisingInChina trended for hours in many parts of the world on 23rd November 2022. People on social media showed sympathy towards the suffering laborers at the Foxconn iPhone factory. Laborers and workers at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory held protests on the factory campus, where they have had to stay since a closed-loop system was announced to counter the spread of COVID-19 without compromising productivity under the Zero Covid policy. Lone protest in Chongqing Date: 23 November 2022Place:  Chongqing  Lone protest in Chongqing where a single man criticized the handling of COVID by the Chinese government. He criticized the Zero Covid enforcers and also held the policy responsible for skyrocketing prices of vegetables in Chongqing. The surrounding residents repeatedly applauded the man for raising his voice. “there is only one disease in the world, that is, not having freedom and poverty. Now we have both of them in #Chongqing. We are still struggling with a small cold.”  The man shouted The police wanted to use violence to arrest the man away and the man shouted “Help me”. Then the residents forcibly rescued the man from the police and cheered each other to send him away. The man was dubbed online as the “Chongqing hero”. Ürümqi fire and protests Date: 24 November 2022 till nowCenter of the protest: Urumqi  On 24 November 2022, a fire in a building in Ürümqi killed 44 people and wounded many in a residential area under lockdown. The Xinjiang region had already been in strict lockdown for three months at that point. During this time, videos and images circulated on Chinese social media showed people unable to purchase basic necessities such as food and medicine. People accused the lockdown measures around the building on fire of preventing firefighters from being able to reach the building in time, while others expressed anger at the government’s response, which seemed to victim blame those who managed to escape the fire. On 25 November, people in Ürümqi marched in the streets in protest, demanding an end to the harsh lockdown measures. Huge protests started in the entire Xinjiang post this incident. Shanghai Protests Date: 24 November 2022 till nowCenter of the protest: Shanghai on Ürümqi Road Videos showed chants openly criticizing Xi Jinping’s administration, with hundreds chanting “Step down, Xi Jinping! Step down, Communist Party!” Chants of people of Shanghai Videos circulating on social media also show the crowd facing police chanting slogans such as “serve the people,” “we want freedom” and “we don’t want the Health Code”. Some people sang the national anthem, “March of the Volunteers”,…

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