Protests in China Over Its Zero Covid Policy Expose Widespread Discontent with Government

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Protesters shout slogans during a protest against Chinas strict zero COVID measures on November 28, 2022 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

In a remarkable display of discontent not seen since the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations, protesters across China have taken to the streets demanding an end to the country’s stringent zero-Covid policy. At the outset of the pandemic, China adopted a policy of quarantining and locking down its citizens to prevent the spread of Covid. But while most of the world has moved on to treat Covid as endemic, China’s president Xi Jinping, who was confirmed in October for an unprecedented third term, has stuck to its zero-Covid policy. Demonstrators argue that the policy has placed an extraordinary burden on citizens, and they are demanding not just the end to the restrictions, but also Xi’s resignation, a call that is politically sensitive in a nation where dissent is regularly quashed.  We’ll talk about the protests and what impact they might have in changing China’s Covid policy and its future.


Kerry Allen, China media analyst, BBC

Victor Shih, chair in China and Pacific Relations, University of California, San Diego

Nancy Qian, James J. O’Connor professor of Economics, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management; founder, Kellogg’s China Research Lab and China Econ Lab, an independent international organization that promotes research about the Chinese economy.