According to reports, uncommonly large-scale demonstrations against China’s zero-Covid policy broke out in Lhasa, the regional capital of Tibet. The BBC said that recordings of the demonstrations, which began on Wednesday afternoon and continued into the evening, showed hundreds of people assembling in the streets. As it fights a plague of coronavirus infections, Lhasa has been in severe Covid-19 lockdown for more than three months. On one of the films, there were hundreds of people gathering in the street, and an official was pleading with them to ‘please be understanding and go back’. As the number of Covid cases began to increase, the lockdown was imposed in Lhasa.
footage from protests against strict covid measures in tibet
very rare for the region under such tight chinese control
likely biggest protest since 2008pic.twitter.com/6c4DqdeUD5
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) October 27, 2022
The occupants grumbled that they were low on necessities because they hadn’t had time to prepare before the sudden lockdown. Coronavirus is still a ‘fact’, according to China, which has defended its heavily criticised zero-Covid policy and ruled out any rollback. We just want to go home was the caption on another video that showed people marching through the streets. According to sources cited by Radio Free Asia (RFA), Tibetan demonstrators urged Chinese authorities to avoid ‘setting off a fire’ if Covid restrictions are not relaxed. Videos revealed a confrontation between the demonstrators and police, who were primarily Han Chinese migrant labourers.
A rare protest in Lhasa against a harsh Covid-19 lockdown. Sources told RFA that Tibetan protesters warned Chinese officials against “setting off a fire” if Covid restrictions are not lifted. pic.twitter.com/oc5DI0Ioje
— Radio Free Asia (@RadioFreeAsia) October 26, 2022
‘Life is extremely difficult, and everyone is imprisoned inside their homes every day. Due to the current high cost of living in Lhasa, tenants are being pursued by landlords for rent. Also prohibited from returning to their hometown is the movement of the employees. There is no other way out for them’, one Lhasa resident was quoted by the BBC as saying. ‘Over 80 days have passed since my lockdown. Several hours a day were set out for people to stroll around the compound, but they were not allowed to stay longer ‘, the resident said.
On Chinese social media networks, every video and photograph of the protesters has been removed. The BBC story noted that one could find terms referring to the protest on Douyin, China’s TikTok equivalent, such as ‘what happened in Lhasa tonight’. At the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi earlier this month on China National Day, members of the Tibetan minority chanted ‘Free Tibet’. On the 73rd anniversary of the PRC’s creation, protesters could be heard yelling ‘Free Tibet’ incendiary phrases.