Elizabeth Gao Portola High School /11th
For the past three years, the citizens of China have been under strict lockdowns and testing. It was only after years of economic hardship and social problems that people protested against the zero COVID-19 policy that they took to the streets.
From an outside point of view - and from the view that COVID-19 affected everyone globally - it may seem as if this is doing everyone a favor and keeping the virus contained.
However, people who have been kept away for extra days from their families because of this quarantine period can be quite mentally suppressed.
Beyond social isolation, some citizens say that, “they’ve gone without sufficient food or medical care” (ABC News).
This depicts that people aren’t necessarily seen as people, rather they are seen as pests that should be put away by the government until they don’t cause harm anymore.
Although tensions were high enough, “Protests flared up after a fire on November 24, 2022 in an apartment building in the northwest city of Urumqi that killed at least 10 people, as some alleged that lockdowns obstructed the rescue of victims, while government officials denied any such impact” (ABC News).
This marked the breaking point because even though quarantine was meant to keep everyone safe, those who were quarantined were killed instead.
Residents were trapped on higher floors and posted their cry for help on WeChat, and community workers replied. Nevertheless, it was too late.
Regarding the actual protests, people chanted with fists in the air and some sang the national anthem.
On the following day, the Urumqi government eased COVID restrictions.
As a result, worker Zhang said, “We workers no longer have to be locked up, starved and suppressed” (New York Times). This showcase of the people’s power proves that people know what is best for them, and it is not always the government that does.
<Elizabeth Gao Portola High School /11th