Rare COVID protests in Tibet… – Manila News
Footage has emerged showing what appear to be rare large-scale protests against strict Covid-19 measures in the Tibetan regional capital, Lhasa.
Several videos on social media show hundreds of people protesting and struggling with police. According to reports, they are largely ethnic Han Chinese migrant workers.
The city has been on lockdown for nearly three months due to an outbreak of illnesses.
Tibet is one of China’s most fortified regions.
The protests are alleged to have started on Wednesday afternoon and lasted all night.
In one video, hundreds of people are seen gathered on the streets, with officials blocking one end. A message of calm can be heard over the loudspeaker, with an official requesting that people “please be understanding and return.”
Another video shows a crowd of people on the streets late at night, with a man commenting on the situation.
The videos show crowds protesting in the city of Lhasa
“[They] have been imprisoned for far too long. And many people in this town have just come to work and earn money. They would not have gone here if they could have had that on the Chinese mainland. ” In Mandarin, he says.
Another video depicted people marching through the streets with the message “We just want to go home.”
The BBC has confirmed that some of the videos were shot in Lhasa recently. They were taken from Chinese social media but were afterwards uploaded on Twitter.
Tibetan sources told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that protesters threatened to “start a fire” if restrictions were not eased, but it is unclear what this meant.
According to another source, there are concerns that scuffles between civilians and police officers will turn violent.
One Lhasa resident told the BBC that while she was still under lockdown, she didn’t see the protests, but she had seen multiple films circulating in chat groups.
“Every day, people are trapped at home, and life is difficult. Prices in Lhasa are currently skyrocketing, and landlords are vying for tenants. Workers are also not permitted to return to their hometown. They have no other option, “explained the resident, who preferred to be known only by her surname, Han.
“People were asking for a solution—if they could maybe escape.”
Ms. Han said she had been in lockdown for about 80 days and that individuals were allowed to explore the compound for several hours a day but couldn’t go any further.
“Who knows how many COVID cases there are now? Every day, we hear that people require oxygen. The government can publish any number it wants. ”
The BBC has noticed a number of posts on Douyin, China’s version of TikTok, from people who claim to be stuck in Lhasa due to COVID measures.
“Today marks the 77th day of the Lhasa lockdown. I’m not sure how long things will stay this way. I can’t seem to find hope. “Can you imagine how difficult it is for migrant workers?” According to the post
“We haven’t received any money in three months, yet our spending hasn’t been cut by a penny. How long can you carry on this way, my Lhasa friends? ” Another post stated
There has been no official response or state media coverage of the protests, while local officials confirmed eight additional COVID cases in Lhasa on Thursday.
All footage of the incident has been removed from Chinese social media sites, while searches on Douyin revealed that many people were searching for terms linked to the demonstration, such as “what happened in Lhasa tonight.”
Lhasa has been under siege since late August. According to rights groups, numerous Tibetans have committed suicide since the uprising began.
China’s zero-COVID policy has saved lives, but it has taken a heavy toll on the Chinese people and economy, with public frustration growing over lockdowns and travel restrictions.
The protest on Wednesday is expected to be the largest in the city since an uprising in 2008 that resulted in the deaths of at least 19 people.
During that time, Chinese security agents were accused of deploying both violent beatings and lethal force on protesters. After that terrible event, Tibet was closed to foreigners and China sent tens of thousands of soldiers to the area.
Tibet is a Chinese-controlled autonomous territory, and Beijing says that it has grown a lot while they have been in charge.
Rights groups, meanwhile, claim that China continues to abuse human rights, accusing the country of political and religious repression. Beijing denies any wrongdoing.
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