After Foxconn Factory Violence, Protests Against Covid-Zero Erupt In Xinjiang

by Swarajya Staff - Nov 26, 2022 05:01 PM +05:30 IST
After Foxconn Factory Violence, Protests Against Covid-Zero Erupt In Xinjiang Covid-19 cases rising in China
  • Earlier this week, violence had also erupted at Foxconn Zhengzhou, with hundreds of workers smashing surveillance cameras and windows.

After violence in what is known as the world’s biggest iPhone factory in the city of Zhengzhou, protests have now erupted in China’s Xinjiang region, home to Uyghurs.

Angry against Covid-zero restrictions, that have now lasted for more than three months, the people are now marching through the streets.

Many believe that the tipping point was the fire in an apartment, locked-down due to Covid, that killed ten people. As reported by Asia Nikkei, people were seen shouting ‘Lift the lockdown’. 

The lockdown in the Xinjiang region has gone on for more than 100 days. As per the report, the people on the ground have been complaining about the lack of government support or subsidies.

Xinjiang, also infamous for the brutal human rights violations against the Uyghurs, has suffered the longest Covid-zero lockdown across China, since the beginning of August. There are also reports of abuses against minorities. However, Beijing denies all such claims, promising easing of restrictions soon across the mainland. 

Earlier this week, violence erupted at Foxconn Zhengzhou, the world’s largest iPhone factory, with hundreds of workers smashing surveillance cameras and windows, viral videos on social media showed.

The latest industrial unrest at Foxconn's flagship factory in Zhengzhou city comes amid rising anger against country's draconian COVID rules as well as poor working conditions at the world's largest contract electronic manufacturer. In a viral video, workers were seen smashing up Covid-19 testing kiosks with steel bars, chairs and fire extinguishers.

Even before the 20th Communist Party Congress, a rare protest was witnessed in Beijing against the Covid-zero policy framework. One of the banners that was used in the protest, images of which made it to Twitter, read ‘We don’t want figureheads, we want to vote, don’t be a slave but a citizen'.

The protest, however, was restricted to single fire and two handwritten banners hung from an overpass. Censors were then penalising social media users, suspending accounts at will, who shared the protest images.

As per the report in The Financial Times, many users were later pleading to the customer services of the social media platforms, begging for their accounts to be restored and apologising for sharing the protest images. The social networks too blocked all the keywords related to the protest, including warrior and brave. 

In early September, in China, more than 3,200 locations were tagged as ‘medium to high risk’, with some Covid-19 restrictions in place.

On 1 August, the number was a little less than 1,100. Only this year, since 10 March, Shanghai has been under full or partial lockdown for 92 days, Dalian for 64, Beijing for 57, Changchun for 55, Jinan for 46, Tangshan for 34, Xuzhou for 30, Nanchang for 26, Taiyuan for 24, and Wuxi for 20. 

Xi’s Achilles' heel, however, is not economic stagnation or the prevailing real estate crisis, but people's vulnerability to the virus.

As of July 2022, 30 per cent of the elderly in Shanghai were without even a single dose of vaccine. Compared to 92.8 per cent in Japan, 94 per cent in the United States (US), and 99 per cent in Australia, only 84 per cent of the elderly population have been vaccinated entirely in China, thus aggravating the lockdowns.

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