Letter to the Editor: Call for attention to Chinese protesters
As a Chinese student, I am writing to you about the ongoing disaster and protests happening in the People’s Republic of China, caused by the so-called “zero Covid” policy.
If you have not followed recent news from China, let me introduce some background. Contrary to all other countries in the world, China has maintained its hardcore “zero Covid” policy even after the Omicron variant dominated case numbers.
It is not surprising that the extremely high infectiousness of the Omicron variant has made this policy extraordinarily difficult; the “zero Covid” lockdowns have caused a number of tragedies that are hard to even read about. 27 people in Guizhou died in a car accident when being unnecessarily sent to quarantine; a three-year-old died because first-aid didn’t arrive in time; and a fire in Urumqi killed 10 because firefighters weren’t able to approach the building.
The inconvenience and economic loss caused by such lockdown are even more massive. Across the country, markets are closed, businesses are down, workers and young people have lost their jobs, and small businesses and ordinary families are under unprecedented pressure.
Therefore, in recent days we have seen some really extraordinary scenes. The Chinese people are protesting against their government with a courage that has not been seen in a generation. City after city, university after university, residents and students are gathering in protest against the lockdown and demanding political reform, even calling on the President to resign.
Such protests are extremely rare and risky in an authoritarian China. However, it sends a clear message to the world that even under the most brutal regime, we, the Chinese people, still long for democracy and human rights. So today, I ask you to please notice and support our brave citizens, who are fighting for a brighter future for our country. It is exactly their courage that roused my responsibility and made me feel obligated to say this today.
A Chinese student and citizen