China Uses Police, Censors, Covid Easing to Stem Protests
Comment of the Day

November 29 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China Uses Police, Censors, Covid Easing to Stem Protests

This article from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The softer tone followed unrest over the weekend that was triggered by a deadly fire in the city of Urumqi last week. The protests sputtered Monday night, after Beijing deployed a heavy police presence to clamp down on gatherings. Cities including Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing and elsewhere also saw fewer demonstrations, while censorship of protest-related discussions ramped up across the social media platforms that had been used to vent public anger.

Some concessions have quietly emerged. People who stay home don’t need frequent Covid tests, the state news agency said on Tuesday, a retrenchment from the previous reliance on mass testing to track the virus. The elderly and students taking online classes were exempted from daily tests in Guangzhou.

Government restrictions imposed in Beijing to trace the source of Covid or identify those infected generally must not exceed 24 hours, officials said.

Eoin Treacy's view

China’s government is adopting a carrot-and-stick approach to containing the recent outpouring of emotion on the streets. Vaccinating large numbers of elderly people and quietly circulating information that the Omicron variant is less deadly have been two policies deployed over the last 48 hours. At the same time, the streets have been flooded with police and protestors are being made aware, both publicly and privately that there are costs to challenging the status quo.

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