Anti-lockdown protests have broken out across multiple cities in China, and the fresh Covid-restrictions threaten supply chains again.
A fire which killed 10 people in Urumqi, capital of the western Xinjiang region, appears to have triggered the widespread unrest, and strong-arm reprisals from the authorities.
The city had been under lockdown for more than 100 days and protesters took to the streets, blaming Covid-restrictions for delaying the response to the tragedy by emergency services and calling for an end to the lockdown.
Similar protests broke out over the weekend in cities including Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Chengdu, with videos on social media showing largely peaceful protests and vigils outside universities.
In an unprecedented show of civil disobedience, the protesters in Shanghai chanted: “Down with the Chinese Communist Party, down with Xi Jinping,” Reuters reported.
Other protesters held up blank sheets of white paper to “represent everything they cannot say”, the reports said, some calling it “the biggest act of defiance since Tiananmen Square”.
The civil disobedience follows violent clashes at Foxconn’s iPhone factory in Zhengzhou last week, where lockdowns have hampered production and reduced Apple’s shipments from China.
Shanghai-based Thomas Gronen, head of Greater China at Fibs Logistics, told The Loadstar: “The protests are very local actions. What will impact the supply chain, sooner or later, are newly imposed Covid restrictions. We have lockdowns in Beijing, Wuhan, Chongqing and a ‘work from home’ recommendation in Shenzhen.
“There’s also local access obstacles in Suzhou, Guangzhou and Tianjin, mostly related to truck driver testing requirements. There are many more cities to list, but these are the most prominent ones.
“At the same time, we’re not seeing any Christmas or Chinese New Year peak season anytime soon,” he added.
Credit The Loadstar by Sam Whelan