Residents clash with Chinese authorities over COVID rules

Residents clash with Chinese authorities over COVID rules

BEIJING – Police in northeastern China said seven people were arrested following a clash between residents and authorities enforcing COVID-19 quarantine restrictions.

The violence comes as China reports new cases across the country, with 2,230 cases reported Tuesday in the southern technology and manufacturing hub of Guangzhou.

While the numbers remain relatively low, China has relentlessly enforced its strict policy of daily or near-daily mandatory quarantines, lockdowns, and testing.

A press release from the Linyi City Police Department in Shandong said public security would crack down on those who “illegally violated citizens’ personal protection legal rights.”

The anti-pandemic measures have sparked backlash across the country, forming a rarely seen challenge to the authority of the Communist Party. It was not immediately clear who was arrested after the confrontation. News of the arrests broke on social media Tuesday morning, but was deleted by the country’s censors before noon.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has made “zero-COVID” a hallmark of his administration, which got a boost last month after he was given a third five-year term in power and promoted loyalists to the main posts.

They include the former party leader from Shanghai, where a draconian lockdown over the summer has led to food shortages, clashes with authorities and severe disruption to global supply chains that have become dependent on Chinese manufacturing and shipping.

While the rest of the world has mostly opened up, China has only taken very cautious minor steps, with its borders still largely closed and officials under heavy pressure to enforce restrictions.

China reported that its trade contracted in October as global demand weakened and anti-virus controls hit domestic consumer spending. Exports fell 0.3% from a year earlier, down from 5.7% growth in September, the customs agency said on Monday. Imports fell 0.7%, compared to expansion of 0.3% in the previous month.

Speculation about a possible relaxation of “zero-COVID” markets stirred, but the government has kept its plans, including the possibility of importing foreign vaccines, a closely guarded secret.

Last week, access to the industrial zone where a factory making Apple iPhones is located was suspended for a week following a spike in infections in Zhengzhou and the departure of factory workers. Many climbed fences and walked along roads to avoid being placed in quarantine centers where standards of food, sanitation and privacy have been heavily criticized.

Apple announced on Sunday that customers will have to wait longer to get its latest iPhone models, saying Foxconn’s factory in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou is “operating at significantly reduced capacity.”

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.