After the deadly fire in Ürümqi, the regional capital of Xinjiang, on Thursday, November 24 - which some have attributed to the strict lockdown rules of the Chinese authorities' 'zero Covid' policy - large-scale protests broke out across China. According to data shared by Nathan Ruser, an analyst at the Australian Policy Strategy Institute (ASPI), 43 public protests were counted in 22 Chinese cities between November 26 and 28.
As this map details, the protests spread to more than a dozen provinces (or autonomous regions) across the country. The territories where the most events were recorded were the Xinjiang region in the northwest, where the protests started, the provinces with the two largest cities, Beijing and Shanghai, the province of Guangdong on the southern coast (capital Guangzhou), as well as the province of Sichuan, located in the center of the country (capital Chengdu).
While the situation is still developing, authorities in the cities of Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing have announced an easing of some Covid rules. Reuters has also cited reports from Chinese state media quoting the country's Vice Premier, Sun Chunlan, as saying: “The country is facing a new situation and new tasks in epidemic prevention and control as the pathogenicity of the Omicron virus weakens, more people are vaccinated and experience in containing the virus is accumulated”.