Following Shanghai and Beijing, Chinese people in other places have also protested against the long-term lockdown, putting people in a distressful situation. 

According to Sound of Hope, on the evening of June 5, a large-scale protest took place in Dongxing—a city in Guangxi, a province at the Vietnamese border. More than a thousand people gathered in front of the government building to demand that the lockdown be lifted. Many special police officers arrived at the scene to deal with the protesters.

Dongxing has been locked down for more than three months due to the epidemic. The city’s economy is gradually declining; people have no income, and they are helpless because they cannot earn a living. One netizen said there was a massive outburst of anger.

According to the announcement of the Health Commission of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, there were 2 new asymptomatic cases in Fangchenggang, Dongxing City, on June 5. The total number of new asymptomatic infections reported up to that date was 28. 

According to local netizens, people are looking forward to the lifting order, but now there are new positive cases and they fear the restrictions will continue. People spontaneously gathered in front of the government building to demonstrate, protest, and ask for the restrictions to be lifted because they cannot bear it any longer.

Netizens posted a video showing a demonstration on the evening of June 5. It is estimated that thousands gathered at the square in front of the administrative building of the Dongxing government. They asked the government to ease the lockdown and demanded freedom of movement inside the city. Authorities dispatched many special police officers and police cars to the scene, and they had a scuffle with demonstrators. Then, the government had to send its representatives to negotiate with the residents.

China’s cyber police have blocked information and videos about the Dongxing protests on Wechat and Weibo. Many accounts have been blocked.

A screenshot of a Weibo announcement says, “Hello, your account has been reported for suspected violations. According to Weibo’s regulations on operation and complaints, at 00:59:19 on June 6, 2022 you posted “#Dongxing epidemic #Zhuang ethnic group in Dongxing Autonomous Region, Guangxi” with comments on violating regulations, account blocked.

Dongxing’s local netizens wrote on Weibo, reflecting the current local situation as follows:

Because Dongxing has been in lockdown for too long, people from other provinces have fled. Dongxing has become a ghost city where only locals live, so the city’s economy is heavily affected. At first, it was just a town bordering Vietnam, where tourism fueled the economic development. However, all travel companies have closed due to the border closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic since the beginning of 2020. Transport and trade have decreased seriously in the border area, and the local GDP has sharply dropped.

Dongxing has been under lockdown for more than 100 days since February this year, pausing every household’s income and making it impossible for citizens to guarantee their basic living. The one-time government bailout provides each household with 9 dollars, but what can 9 dollars do for the Dongxing residents trapped in their homes for several months?”

“Dongxing city has been implementing a lockdown. But the pandemic has not yet been effectively solved. The lockdown has hindered people’s lives in Dongxing’s border town. The expenses of house loans, car purchases, bank loans, accommodation and travel expenses, children’s books and school expenses must be paid. How do the people here continue to survive without a job and having no money?

NTDTV reporter interviewed local people.

Ms. Wang, living in Dongxing, said: “Many people live for their “daily bread,” and they have no way to get through the day. No wonder they have to demonstrate. They have been hungering already, they have been demonstrating already. Currently, everyone is suffering, many people cannot help but commit suicide, owners cannot pay for their house rent, and workers have no job. Everyone has already decided to leave.

Dongxing city’s citizens said that the lockdown has not been completely removed, traffic has not returned to normal, schools are still closed, and not many people go out to work even though they have permission.

Ms. Wu, living in Dongxing, said: “Currently, there is still an epidemic, it has not been completely eradicated. You can enter Dongxing today, but if you go out of Fangchenggang, you will have to declare and cannot easily go in and out. The vegetable market has reopened, but it has not been as crowded as before; public places have not been normally operated and public bus stations have not yet reopened.” 

The video on May 6 shows that the market is extremely deserted. 

The reporter said: “Now, there is only me in this port area. I am working here alone, I do not know when it will be restored like it was before.”

After the large-scale protest took place in Dongxing, on June 6, the COVID-19 Disease Prevention and Control Head Office of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region issued an urgent announcement to prevent the epidemic in Dongxing to appease the public’s anger.

The official dispatch is as follows:

In the short term, Dongxing is detecting scattered positive cases, and the risk for the region is low. After the epidemic outbreak, the headquarters for disease control and prevention deployed tracing, applied scientific lockdown, control and prevention measures, and strictly followed regulations on control measures for high-risk transmission people. According to the “Nine Prohibitions” issued by the Joint Control Mechanism of the State Council on June 5, 2022, the relevant requirements for restricting the movement of people and vehicles from Dongxing city are notified as follows:

1. It is not allowed to arbitrarily restrict people from Dongxing from entering the local area. People from Dongxing who have a green health code, and provide a 48-hour positive nucleic acid test certificate, will be allowed to enter the city. Those who have “yellow code” and “red code” will be regulatory controlled.

2. Do not forcefully turn back, isolate or use restrictive measures on people from Dongxing who have a green health code and a 48-hour positive nucleic acid test certificate. 

3. Do not arbitrarily set up checkpoints for epidemic prevention and control. Appropriately restrict passengers, freight drivers, and passenger cars meeting the pass conditions from/or going through Dongxing city. 

4. For people and vehicles traveling from other low-risk epidemic areas, please refer to the requirements of this announcement. 

June 5, 2022

On June 6, the second day after Dongxing people gathered to protest, Dongxing city allowed circulation in three towns, meaning that only in Dongxing it is still not possible to go out of the Dongxing area.

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