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Taking Brunt of Lockdown, Migrant Workers Fuel China’s Latest Protests


Guangzhou’s Haizhu district, where the clashes broke out, is a hub for garment manufacturing and tens of thousands of migrant workers from China’s countryside make their living in packed factories, shops and eateries. Street.

But there and across China, Covid restrictions on work and travel have added to the economic downturn and pushed many small businesses into closure or bankruptcy, forcing workers to enter the country. residents struggle to make a living.

“People have nowhere to vent their frustrations,” said a local surnamed Hu, the owner of a suspended construction business. He witnessed the arrival of hundreds of riot police near his home on Tuesday night and felt sympathy for the protesting workers. “The police did not protect the people. They scared everyone.”

The surge in Covid-19 cases in Guangzhou over the past few weeks has prompted officials to impose lockdowns on several districts, home to a total of about six million people, according to the report. government announcement.

In the Haizhu district in the south of the city, about 1.8 million residents were ordered to stay home and perform daily coronavirus tests, and local authorities erected barriers around residential areas where cases were recorded. Covid. Two weeks ago, residents of a neighborhood marched to protest shortages of food and other essentials while being kept at home for weeks, people there told The New York Times at the time.

On Wednesday, many districts in Guangzhou, including Haizhu, lifted Covid precautions in some areas not listed as “high-risk”. According to a government notice.

China’s leadership has kept quiet about the protests over the past week, although the unrest has attracted global attention, including Comments from the White House, and unsettled international investors. When called and asked about the nights of clashes, a Haizhu district official and a police officer both quickly hung up on Wednesday, each saying, “I don’t know about that.”

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