According to Chinese-language media Sound of Hope, a large-scale protest occurred on June 18 and 19 in Kunshan. Protesters called on authorities to reopen the Shanghai-Kunming Expressway after three months of inactivity.
Sparked by previous sporadic protests, by the evening of June 18, a real large-scale protest took place in Huaqiao town, Kunshan city.
Hundreds of protesters gathered under a viaduct and chanted in unison: “Go to work, go to work.”
Police quickly appeared to suppress the protest. Police vehicles were also dispatched to the scene to round up protesters.
One video depicts police gathered to one side and protesters standing opposite to protest. The protesters shook the fence and then broke it.
Another video depicts up to four policemen in black carrying a protester across the street.
Chinese-language media Xin Tang Ren said that to implement the Zero Covid policy, the local government has closed the Shanghai-Kunming route for three months. By June 1, Shanghai reopened. However, this route still shows no sign of opening.
Shanghai-Kunming is an important route connecting Kunshan city and Shanghai. Many workers buy or rent houses in Kunshan and go to Shanghai daily to work. However, due to the epidemic’s impact, they have not been able to work for three months. As a result, some people are about to face unemployment.
On June 18, instead of authorities removing the fence, locals witnessed it being replaced. Residents’ hopes of lifting the blockade were dashed, and protests broke out.
By June 19, after a night of fighting with protesters, the Kunshan government showed signs of giving in.
Xin Tang Ren said that the Kunshan government has announced that it will reopen “with conditions” from 6:00 a.m. on June 20.
Those conditions are: Citizens must have an electronic document allowing travel between Shanghai and Kunshan. In addition, commuters need to take a nucleic acid test daily and add the information to the electronic voucher. The voucher is only valid for 24 hours. At the same time, commuters need to travel directly from their residence to the workplace and not go anywhere else.
More than 60,000 commuters need to move between Shanghai and Kunshan every day.
Xin Tang Ren reported the story of a netizen, “SarahYi000.” He is a Shanghai citizen and bought a house in Huaqiao Town, Kunshan last year. Every day, he spends 3 hours commuting between Shanghai and Huaqiao to work. Huaqiao closed in March when the epidemic reached there. Then Shanghai was on lockdown.
If the commuters want to continue working in Shanghai, they must leave Huaqiao. Then they need to get a work certificate issued by the company in Shanghai. Workers then need to sign a commitment to not return to Huaqiao to ensure the epidemic prevention policy.
He said: “Those Chinese who live in overseas and work in Shanghai cannot work normally and are about to face unemployment,”… “Many of us have home loans, car loans, even families, based on our income. A grain of sand falling on an ant like us, it’s like such a mountain.”