Beijing sees rare protest ahead of key CPC conference

Photos of what appeared to be a rare protest in Beijing against China’s “zero-covid” policies were shared on social media on Thursday, just days before the upcoming 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) where President Xi Jinping will host President Xi Jinping. is about to secure a third term as Communist Party leader.

Photos of the public protest were circulated on Twitter, showing at least two red protest banners on a bridge in Beijing’s northwestern Haidian district, a university center. Some photos, apparently taken from a nearby high-rise building, showed smoke billowing from an object on the bridge as firefighters rushed to the source.

The source of the smoke was not immediately apparent in the photos.

One of the banners in Chinese read: “Food, not Covid testing; Reform, not a cultural revolution; Freedom, no lockdowns; Votes, no leader; dignity, no lies; Citizens, not slaves.”

“Go on strike, remove dictator and national traitor Xi Jinping,” the other banner read, according to CNN.

The protest appeared to be aimed at China’s “zero-covid” policy-related restrictions that have impacted people’s lives across the country, including in the capital Beijing.

The Beijing student community, for example, many of whom live in Haidian, have severe restrictions on entering and exiting their campuses.

There is growing frustration and fatigue among citizens with the “zero Covid” strategy, as it involves fast and hard lockdowns, strict quarantine measures and frequent mass testing.

The policies have had a heavy impact on the livelihoods of daily earners and have slowed down the economy.

However, the government seems determined to continue with the policy.

The CPC’s spokeswoman, People’s Daily, released comments for three consecutive days this week, saying China will continue to implement the policy.

“Laying flat is not advisable, and to win (the Covid battle) while lying flat is not possible,” the paper’s commentary said on Wednesday, using an expression in China indicating do nothing.

For example, China routinely criticizes the US for “laying flat” against Covid-19.

The protest in Haidian took place as the first batch of delegates from the Inner Mongolia region reached Beijing to attend the national congress.

At the party congress, which begins Sunday, about 2,300 top officials and party deputies will attend choreographed meetings in the Great Hall of the People under heavy security.

Xi is expected to run for a third term, breaking a tradition where the CPC secretary general remained the party head for only two terms.

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