How Is China's Government Responding to Anti-Lockdown Protests?
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.”
Featured Coverage of this Story
From the CenterChina plans 'crackdown' after Covid protests
China's top security agency has called for a crackdown on "hostile forces" after rare protests against Covid rules in Chinese cities at the weekend.
Police officers have flooded now-empty protest sites, with some protesters saying police have contacted them to seek information on their whereabouts.
Meanwhile the country's health officials say lockdowns should be "imposed and eased quickly".
China has recorded record numbers of new cases in recent days.
From the RightCCP uses police to track down White Paper Revolution protestors
The Chinese Communist Party has started to crack down on those who protested against the country's "Zero Covid" policy, those at the Beijing demonstrations have said, as police continue to monitor major city streets.
According to two protestors who spoke with Reuters, callers identifying themselves as Beijing police officers asked them to report to the police station on Tuesday and gave them written accounts of their activities at the protest. One student said they were asked by their college if they had been at a protest, and to provide a written...
From the LeftWith Intimidation and Surveillance, China Tries to Snuff Out Protests
Reacting to China’s boldest and most widespread protests in decades, the security apparatus built by Communist Party leader Xi Jinping is mobilizing on multiple fronts to quash dissent, drawing on its decades-old tool kit of repression and surveillance.
In a meeting of the party’s top security leaders, reported in state media on Tuesday, officials were ordered to “resolutely crack down on illegal and criminal acts that disrupt social order.” And by evening, the demonstrations already appeared to be smaller and more scattered, with new videos emerging on social media — the main...