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China Covid outbreak: Beijing reports first deaths since easing of restrictions

Updated on: 16 December,2022 10:06 PM IST  |  Beijing

The deaths were registered after pandemic control measures were lifted on December 7, reported Singapore daily Today

China Covid outbreak: Beijing reports first deaths since easing of restrictions

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Beijing on Friday reported the deaths of two former Chinese state media journalists due to Covid-19, the first since most pandemic control measures were lifted on December 7, reported Singapore daily Today.

Yang Lianghua, a former People's Daily reporter, died on December 15, aged 74 while Zhou Zhichun, a former China Youth Daily editor, died on December 8, aged 77, according to financial magazine Caixin.

China's national health authority has not reported any official Covid deaths since dismantling many of its domestic epidemic control policies on December 7. The last official deaths were reported on December 3, in Shandong and Sichuan provinces, reported Today.

China had announced a nationwide loosening of Covid-related restrictions, allowing home quarantine for Covid close contacts and scrapping the Covid test rule in most public venues, state media said.

The announcement brought relief to millions of people, who had been reeling under crippling control measures since the start of the pandemic.

Chinese President Xi Jinping's strict adherence to a 'Zero Covid' policy had led to widespread civilian protests across the country.

Anti-Xi slogans were raised during civilian demonstrations in Shanghai, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Beijing and several other cities of China. Anti-government banners were raised despite a strict watch, in a show of public defiance of the government's policies.

In the last week of November, hundreds of people in Shanghai, China's biggest city and financial centre, began publicly protesting against the government's strict Covid control measures.

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Demonstrators held up blank banners -- to evade arrest and minimize risk -- and chanted slogans such as 'Down with Communist Party!' and 'Down with Xi Jinping!', according to New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW).

According to POREG, the Xi regime had simply not bothered to take note of warning signals from September-end onwards, if not much earlier. Instead, it went about with a display of iron fist that can happen when ears are not tuned to the ground, the report added.

The Chinese government turned a blind eye to the criticism of its Covid management, Voices Against Autocracy stated, adding that despite all the global criticism, China stuck to its impractical and unreasonable 'Zero Covid' policy, ignoring the sufferings of innocent civilians.

On November 24, a fire tore through a residential building in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region's capital Urumqi. After the incident, citizens circulated the videos on the internet, with residents screaming and demanding authorities to open exits.

Residents said they were closed under strict Covid-19 restrictions that were in place for more than 100 days, causing widespread hardship.

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