Citizens in Tianjin, Shenzhen, and Xi’an cities were at their breaking point with Beijing’s zero-tolerance COVID-19 restrictions.
Epoch Times reported that group protests have exploded in the three cities recently, less than two weeks before the Beijing Winter Olympics.
On the evening of Jan. 17, a group of migrant workers in Dasi Town, Xiqing District, Tianjin, went down the streets demanding food. Hunger is a common complaint among residents put under community isolation by the Chinese regime.
In footage shared online, a man in a black t-shirt is standing on a car roof shouting, “We have no money to eat; I just want to eat!”
The crowd gave him plenty of applause. Then, when a large group of local police came over to arrest the man, protesters could be heard yelling for his release.
A Twitter user named Lucky Clover said that the local authority in Chilong Lanyuan county in Xiqing district of Tianjin city on Jan. 17 distributed food for local people in the community but denied supplies for migrants living in leasing houses. That resulted in a protest later that day.
Another local by the pseudonym Wang Hao confirmed that food was distributed that day, but migrants did not recieve anything. They protested because they had nothing to eat.
Wang said the Chilong Lanyuan community had been shut down since Jan. 9 over a single case of COVID-19. He said he had been tested for the virus 6 times since then.
An internet user said that migrant workers could not go to work because of the pandemic, so they have no salary and are still required to pay rent while not leaving Tianjin to go home.
The person said these workers don’t have homes in the area. Instead, they live in partitions where they cannot cook.
A Chilong Lanyuan resident by the pseudonym He Xiao said that when the local authorities imposed the lockdown, it was sudden and people were not given enough time to stock up their food supplies.
He said the county was not allowing anyone out or in, but those inside can still travel within it. Because of that, he could get some bread, noodles, and ham at the small supermarkets, but vegetables were sold out.
He said: “I am also an immigrant and have not seen the authorities supply anything at all. So I have to eat instant noodles every day. But the restrictions were lifted today. You can scan the code and go out.”
Epoch Times reported that the entire Dasi Town, where Chilong Lanyuan is located, lifted restrictions the day after the protest.
According to Tianjin’s official report, as of Jan. 19, the city still has 40 closed and controlled areas where people cannot go out, and local officers patrol the community 24 hours a day.
Shenzhen city also saw a protest on Jan. 19. Online footage showed a large group of people confronting the police as they asked for lockdown leverages. At least one protester was seen detained by the police.
Min Xiaoqiang (pseudonym), a resident of Tianxin village in Luohu district, confirmed that the villagers from his village joined the protest. The person arrested was the young leader.
A Lockdown was imposed in Tianxin village on Jan. 11 and is scheduled to be lifted by Jan. 25. During this period, locals were not allowed to leave the village. But some said that the pandemic was not that terrible that it warranted 10 days of community isolation. Therefore, they wanted the measure to be shorter.
Shenzhen officials reported that an employee of a company in Luohu District had been diagnosed with COVID-19. And most of the people who come into contact with him are in Tianxin Village, Sungang Road, Luohu District.
From the morning of Jan. 11, the patient’s building and Tianxin village were closed, and people were not allowed to enter or leave.
Local officials have avoided confirming that a protest broke out in Tianxin when contacted by an Epoch Times reporter.
The Huacheng International Community in Yanta County, Xi’an, was closed for 35 days and announced on Jan. 20 that it had been downgraded into a control area.
Twitter user LQAPlus said that locals were not allowed to go out for vegetables even under a control area status. Instead, they have to buy food at higher prices from the authorities. One homeowner required an explanation and was beaten up by the police.
Proud Girl tweeted that citizens surrounded the police station and shouted, “let everyone go.” At least two protesters who criticized the costly food supply were detained.
According to an online video, nearly 100 homeowners were gathering at the gate of Changyanbao county in the Huacheng International Community on Jan. 20. In the video, protesters chanted “let go” and demanded explanations.
Mass protests broke out from Xi’an to Shenzhen and Tianjin in unprecedented succession.
Current affairs commentator Tang Jingyuan from The Epoch Times said that this showed the unsustainability of the Chinese regime’s zero covid model.
Tang said that the Chinese regime has normalized and institutionalized the use of extreme blockade and control measures to respond to COVID-19. Yet such actions cannot secure the supply of food, essential medicine, and other necessary resources.
Tang said, “If this pattern continues, there will only be more, bigger, and more intense events like this. This was not a matter of individuals having the right policy, but a crisis caused by this COVID-zero model.”