On November 26 and 27, protests over China’s zero-COVID policy spread to several cities. The apartment fire that killed at least ten on November 24 triggered nationwide protests, with thousands of people joining. This is the most widespread expression of discontent against the ruling Communist Party in decades. 

Inspired by the mainland China protests, nearly 1,000 people in Toronto and Vancouver, Canada, gathered to hold a vigil for victims who died in the fire. They chanted slogans calling for leader Xi Jinping to step down and liberate China. 

Some people joining the protest were so moved that they shed tears, saying that after June 4, 1989, when the regime cracked down on the demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, they finally saw hope in China.

About 500 people gathered in the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Plaza to protest against the CCP’s oppression.

A 20-year-old woman read a poem about the Urumqi victims on the square in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

She recalled the tragedy of the Karamay fire 28 years ago and noted that many young people might not be aware of the tragedy. She added that the Communist Party has not changed, so young people could witness history being repeated this time.

Yu’er from the Northeast took to the street for the first time to protest. While holding up a blank sheet of paper, she said she should support the protests abroad after seeing what’s happening in mainland China.

Chinese protesters are venting their frustration with COVID-19 restrictions on blank sheets of paper. The white sheets of paper have become a symbol of tacit defiance and a protest against government censorship

A 26-year-old man named Johnny, joining the protest in Beijing, told Reuters that “the white paper reflects everything we want to say but cannot speak.”

Protesters can be seen from universities and on the streets of major cities. They primarily demanded the country’s COVID-related restrictions end and to be freed from the Communist Party’s grip over all aspects of life.

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