Headline RoundupNovember 29th, 2022

How Is China's Government Responding to Anti-Lockdown Protests?

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Chinese authorities cracked down on protests in several major cities on Monday and Tuesday, reportedly fencing off areas where demonstrators had gathered and conducting searches of bystanders’ smartphones. 

Key Quotes: In a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) security meeting, officials were reportedly directed to “resolutely crack down on illegal and criminal acts that disrupt social order.” Party officials also reportedly blamed the unrest on foreign “hostile forces.” A protester quoted by CNN (Left bias) said the presence of police and police dogs had forced protesters to cancel a demonstration, adding, “The whole atmosphere was chilling.”

For Context: Protests began late last week after a delayed response to an apartment fire was blamed on COVID-19 lockdown policies. Along with apparent attempts to drown out the protests with spam on Twitter, China’s surveillance and censorship systems have actively worked to limit protest activity. Offline, police came out in force; by some accounts, there were “literally more police than protesters” in some places. 

How the Media Covered It: Coverage of the police crackdown was less common in right-rated outlets on Tuesday. Headlines across the spectrum often sensationalized “Beijing’s surveillance state,” saying it “swings into action to smother” protests. Coverage from the U.S. was generally supportive of the protesters; one NPR (Lean Left bias) correspondent called them “brave souls.” While coverage across the spectrum framed China’s lockdowns as exceptionally strict, coverage from the right criticized them more directly; Fox News (Right bias) host Tucker Carlson called them “a tool of social control.”

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