The Chinese government is facing mass protests from all walks of life and in different cities.
In the social field
A video from the Meijingdongfang Community of Zhouzhuang, Chaoyang District, Beijing leaked on social media. On May 10, the authorities wanted to lock down the whole area, which led to a wide protest.
The video shows a large group of residents gathering on the ground. They want to talk to official representatives. However, the staff only explains how to pay for express delivery and transportation during the expected lockdown. And the residents respond in astonishment.
The residents said the community has no positive cases. They ask the staff for the person in charge and legal documents for the lockdown order. They said they would follow the order if the lockdown is indeed legal.
One resident shouts out. He said that their community actually has no confirmed cases. And this one-size-fits-all approach shows the laziness of the government.
In another video, a community resident representative suggests a compromise with the official.
He complains that the official can not just set up tight isolation and close the building. He suggests that the official look at the present situation. He said they can divide the time into sections and batches, and residents could go out at the indicated time. He adds that no law limits the residents’ move and treats them like animals.
Early this month, teachers and students at Beijing International Studies University gathered to protest against the campus lockdown. The police come to break up the protest. In the video clip, an officer ignores the students’ concerns while repeatedly warning them to leave.
When the police tell students and teachers to report their concerns through the usual channels, one student argues that all channels are blocked due to the lockdown.
A short video posted on Twitter shows a crowd of Chinese medical workers protesting on the street for better treatment. They are usually called “Dabai” or literally “Big Whites” for their appearance, as they are all dressed in hazmat suits.
According to the Twitter user, these “Big Whites” work at China Construction Second Engineering Bureau Hospital in Beijing.
A hazmat suit-clad worker is holding a loudspeaker, shouting, “Don’t let the anti-epidemic heroes sweat and cry.”
Others echo, “Want to work and want to eat.”
Apart from these repeated slogans, they also raise banners, “Demand work, Oppose hospital closure.”
After chanting slogans repeatedly in front of the hospital, they begin to march on the streets.
These “Big Whites” workers come from many walks of life. They can be professional medical staff, firefighters, public security, neighborhood committee cadres, volunteers, or even temporary workers.
A Twitter user, nicknamed Bad Guy, says this is the reward for three times of disinfection, and now they are done.
Some other videos show the hidden reality of these anti-epidemic workers. A video shows a hazmat-clad worker crying in pain because of his mother’s death. Another is sitting quietly in the corner of the outer side of a building hiding from the heavy rain.
In Shanghai, people also voice their displeasure
According to a Reuters witness and locals in Shanghai, fenced-in residents in Shanghai have started banging on pots and pans in the evenings. They want to protest against the lockdown and difficulties acquiring groceries.
The Guardian also posted a video showing frustrated residents banging pots and pans.
A poster circulating on social media called for people to make noise from 7 to 8 pm. The poster asks for a shout-out from home and banging on pots and pans to ask for supplies.
In a Twitter post, the France24 correspondent Antoine Morel wrote, “Residents are banging pots to show their displeasure. In 30 days, we only received 3 food parcels from the government.”
He also posted what seemed to be a message from the community police. The police said that foreign forces were encouraging people to knock on pots. They want to minimize the resident’s desperate pleas.
Earlier, Shenzhen residents stand up
In Block C of Jiabaorun Gold Building in Futian District, Shenzhen, a group of residents shouted slogans against the epidemic lockdown.
On March 5, Mr. Wang, a Shenzhen resident, told Chinese Xin Tang Ren media that since the entire building of Jiabaorun was closed on February 16, the residents’ lives were in trouble, so they shouted slogans to protest.
Mr. Chen, a resident of Shangsha East village, Shenzhen, said no one cared about them; they were fenced off and could not get out. Also, many people were shouting: “hungry, hungry…,” however, no one delivered meals.
Ms. Li, a resident of Shenzhen, said that many areas had been sealed off again. In areas that were not sealed off, people had to show a 48-hour proof of nucleic acid testing when entering and leaving.
She added that people had to undergo a nucleic acid test once every two days. The queue looked scary, and it took two hours to queue up. However, they could not go out if they did not have a health code.
A loudspeaker played on a loop in a small area of Shekou Street in Shenzhen’s Nanshan District, urging residents to have their nucleic acid tested with the slogan, “If you don’t test for three days, the code will automatically turn black. If you don’t test today, you won’t be able to go to work tomorrow.”
In the environmental field
Chinese automobile maker Guangqi Honda is facing public backlash over an extension plan for its factory in Guangzhou 广州 city, Guangdong 广东 province.
Chinese media IFeng.com reported on May 17 that thousands of citizens believe the renewed facility will be too close to the residential area. They were worried that it would cause air, groundwater, noise, and other pollution in the surrounding communities.
The factory’s new southern border is about 40 meters (134 feet) away from Yantian Village. It is less than 100 meters (328 feet) away from Bi Village and Bi Village Apartments in the west and R&F New Town in the southwest.
Da Ji Yuan reported that the homeowners of R&F New Town sued the Guangzhou Development Zone Management Committee in March. They claimed that the department disregarded public opinion and breached regulations.
According to Bia News, a person from the Department confirmed that they approved the project. They said they received pertinent complaints from residents. It is currently being processed, but gives no further information.
Residents in Changsha city of Henan province have demonstrated in front of a BYD factory for days because of its environmental impact. BYD is the largest world maker of electric vehicles.
Citizens have been protesting against the intense paint smell from the plant. It was so bad that they said it affected their health and caused nosebleeds. The protestors also waved around pictures of children having nosebleeds.
A document dated May 8, 2021, from the Hunan Provincial Department of Ecology and Environment confirmed this problem. The paint smell in the painting workshop of the BYD factory in Changsha was severe and affected the lives of residents.
However, BYD’s exhaust gas monitoring and self-commissioned test results showed that its emissions meet the standard.
Luo Jing, a resident near the BYD factory, said people have tried to appeal to authorities about the pollution, but nothing has been done. Luo said the police had also been to the scene.
A resident living near the BYD plant using the pseudonym Wang Ping 王萍 said that the factory had been intensifying production since last month, with about 30,000 to 40,000 more employees. She believed that the facility has been releasing more pollutants into the air because of this.
The Securities Times reported on May 4 that BYD sold around 106,000 vehicles in April. It is more than three times higher than last year’s same period.
Wang said the community living around the plant is crowded. She said at least 10,000 to 20,000 children and 100,000 to 200,000 residents live there.
According to China’s national automobile manufacturing plant health protection standard, the distance between the factory and the residential area ranges from 1,000 to 16,500 feet (about 300 to 5,000 meters). But Wang said that some communities are only one road away from the factory, or less than 330 feet (100 meters) away.
Wang said many people suffered respiratory problems. She had experienced severe nasal congestion, rhinitis, throat inflammation, chest tightness, and chest pain. Her children, meanwhile, often get stomach pains, dizziness, and leg discomfort.
And in the finance field
According to Reuters, some bank depositors posted videos of protests outside bank branches in Henan province. Meanwhile, others said they went to the bank’s headquarters in quest of an explanation. The police were there, but they didn’t help them.
Earlier, Sina Finance, reported that more than 2,900 people are in trouble withdrawing their money from three rural banks in Henan and one bank in Anhui. The total deposit involves up to about 178 million dollars.
Bank depositors told Phoenix Net Finance on April 21 that they could not withdraw cash or transfer money.
The last update on this issue from four official websites was from April 18 to April 19, when the banks announced that they were upgrading systems. But they didn’t mention when they would be back in business.
The Internet banking service of the four banks still isn’t available as of May 19.
Depositors at the three Henan banks told Reuters that they want to retrieve funds, and they are discussing it together via messaging app WeChat.
Some depositors told Reuters about their stories.
Jerry Chang, an owner of a factory in Hubei province, deposited almost 900,000 dollars to Henan bank.
He said [quote], “Not being able to withdraw money has a huge impact on the operation of our factory, including procurement and workers’ wages.” [end quote]
An investment consultant from Zhejiang province, Tony Qian, deposited nearly 3 million dollars to another Henan bank.
Qian said, “The thing I’m most angry about is … no one has explained anything to us.”