China has sent college students home and mobilized a large police force in an effort to crack down on anti-government protests. The country’s top security body has called for a crackdown on “hostile forces”. In Guangzhou, the police crack down on protesters. Amid this turmoil, EU President Michel will visit Beijing tomorrow. “Apparently Xi has time for this,” says China correspondent Anouk Eigenraam.
“Last night it was quite quiet in Beijing, there is a massive police presence everywhere.” There are still some protests in Guangzhou, but Eigenraam expects these protests to be suppressed soon or already have been. Meanwhile, Chinese authorities have announced plans to vaccinate more senior citizens, likely in a bid to mitigate anger over the zero-Covid policy. Such an elderly vaccination is essential if China is to ease controls without directly leading to mass deaths and overburdening the fragile health system.
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According to Eigenraam, there are some slack in Beijing. For example, elderly people who no longer go out and children no longer have to undergo daily tests, says Eigenraam, who is curious if EU President Michel will say anything about the protests. The US ambassador told the Chinese government not to interfere in the protests, China will react as usual as if it had been stung by a wasp and the US says it will not interfere in internal affairs.
After the weekend protests, Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University, where Chinese leader Xi Jinping also studied, was one of the universities to send students home and put lectures and exams online, officially due to an outbreak of coronavirus. Police gathered in large numbers in squares and streets across China where protests had taken place and erected barriers.
In the southern China city of Guangzhou, protests against coronavirus measures intensified on Tuesday night. Images of clashes between protesters and the police, who are targeted during the trial, are circulating on social media. You can also see arrested people.
People gathered in Guangzhou on Tuesday night to demand an end to the lockdowns. Police stand shoulder to shoulder in protective clothing against the protesters in the images. They get all kinds of objects thrown at their heads and stand among the broken glass. Subsequently, the police deported at least ten protesters with their hands tied behind their backs.
The protests in Guangzhou are part of an unprecedented wave of protests in China where people are protesting the strict corona lockdowns. People across the country have taken to the streets in recent days following a fire in Urumqi that killed ten people. According to many Chinese, they could no longer escape due to corona measures.
The strict corona policy in China has clearly left its mark on the industry of the world’s second largest economy. Manufacturing activity declined for the second consecutive month in November. The lockdowns that have particularly affected large parts of the country have caused problems. Due to the corona restrictions, the logistics chain is also confused.
The so-called Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), an important indicator for measuring the activity of the manufacturing industry, stood at 48.0 in November. That marked a decline from 49.2 in October and well below the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction, China’s statistics agency said.
China is sticking to its zero-covid policy to prevent the spread of the virus. Part of that policy is strict quarantine rules and mass testing. Despite this, infections have reached record levels this month. As a result, domestic demand has declined and business confidence has also declined. The industry has been struggling with corona restrictions all year round. There was also a heat wave this summer that affected business in the country.
Chinese policymakers have set themselves an annual economic growth target of around 5.5%. But experts say the country will struggle to meet that target, despite announcing better-than-expected growth of 3.9% in the third quarter.