Headline RoundupNovember 28th, 2022

Chinese Anti-Lockdown Protests Spread Rare Criticism of Xi and CCP

AllSides Summary

Chinese anti-lockdown protests spread to Hong Kong and other cities on Monday, with some calling for the removal of Chinese President Xi Jinping. 

Latest Developments: Protests have reportedly occurred in at least ten cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Both online and offline, demonstrators often adopted inconspicuous symbols like blank sheets of paper to signal their defiance and evade censors. Meanwhile, Twitter was flooded with explicit spam apparently trying to cover up protest coverage; TechCrunch (Center bias) called it a “Great Wall of porn.”

For Context: The latest round of protests began after many blamed China’s “Zero COVID” lockdown policies for a delayed response to an apartment fire that killed ten people in Xinjiang. Protests also broke out last week at a major iPhone plant over “closed loop” policies that forced workers to live at the factory to avoid an outbreak. Protests openly defying the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are rare, but strict lockdown policies and economic troubles have pushed some to speak out and risk retaliation. 

How U.S. Media Covered It: While coverage was common across the spectrum, major left and center-rated outlets featured the story more prominently on Monday. Coverage across the spectrum sometimes speculated on whether the protests would threaten Xi and the CCP. 

How Regional Media Covered It: While the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post (Center bias) highlighted criticism of Beijing’s lockdown policies, coverage of the protests was notably missing from Xinhua (Not Rated), a state-funded Chinese news agency.

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