TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As protests over China's zero-COVID policy spread in response to a deadly lockdown fire in Xinjiang over the weekend, Chinese government officials are taking down Urumqi road signs.
Road signs for Wulumuqi Road in Shanghai, which was named after Xinjiang's Urumqi, were taken down on Sunday evening (Nov. 27) and later dumped at a construction site. Pictures and video of the removal were shared on social media platforms.
Frustration is mounting over the Chinese government's strict zero-COVID policy, which is affecting the economy and causing pervasive human rights violations, including some people being left untreated during their quarantines. The fatal fire in Urumqi is being described as a catalyst for the protests popping up around China.
Residents record the scene as they mourn for the victims of a recent deadly fire at a residential building in Urumqi city at a road sign of the Middle Wulumuqi Road or Middle Urumqi Rd and calls for freedom of the press in Shanghai, China Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP photo)
Protests are being reported across Chinese cities after the Urumqi fire, which killed 10 people.
Among them, protests taking place on Middle Urumqi Road in Shanghai are drawing a lot of media attention. Starting on Saturday (Nov. 26) evening, protestors gathered to remember the Urumqi victims and were seen holding blank sheets of white paper.
Shanghai protestors were heard shouting "ease lockdown in Xinjiang," "end COVID lockdown," "I want freedom, no more routine community PCR tests," "depost Xi Jinping," and "remove the Communist Party from power." Reuters reported hundreds of protesters and police clashed the next day.
The protests have spread to other cities, including Beijing, Wuhan, and Chengdu over the weekend. Large protest scenes like this have not been seen in China since the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989.
Blank sheets of white paper are being used by demonstrators to express their dissatisfaction.