Demonstrations have been taking place across the world over the large-scale repression of the Uyghur Muslim population living in Xinjiang by the Chinese government amounting to “crimes against humanity.”
Recently, on December 3, a few activists gathered in Tokyo to show support for and silently highlight the suffering of the Uyghur people of Xinjiang in China. The activists also paid homage to more than two dozen Uyghurs, who were killed in an apartment block fire in Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi, according to several media reports.
Uyghurs were unable to escape the fire in their apartment because Covid restrictions did not permit any movement outside their homes, the leader of the Japan Uyghur Union explained.
The protestors pointed out to passersby how China’s zero Covid and anti-ethnic policies – both exceptionally strict and oppressive – had combined to even further terrorise the Uighur minority in the northwestern region of China, local media reported.
The group will hold more such protests in the days ahead, beginning on 9 December, the eve of International Human Rights Day.
On November 24 Urumqi fire was reportedly caused by an electrical outlet on the 15th floor. The smoke and flames spread to several floors causing burn and suffocation casualties. Reports indicated around forty dead or injured. Although fire services were rushed to the scene, they were restricted by fences and obstructions placed near the building as part of Chinese ‘Zero-Covid’ blockade policies.
Instead of clearing the obstructions, the firefighters sprayed from a distance, being partially effective and allowing the fire to burn for more than three hours before it was extinguished. The delay and the slack response of the authorities have led to protests in Urumqi, Korla and Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture.
There was also news of angry protests in Beijing, Shanghai and by students in Nanjiang and other Chinese cities, suggesting a deepening resentment amongst even the Han Chinese against the obdurate Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the Chinese Communist Party regime led by President Xi Jinping.
One of the biggest revolutions to take place in the Communist nation since the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement in 1989 is the one that is currently taking place. Additionally, it’s likely that the response meant to scatter the persistent demonstrators will make things worse.
The fire prompted angry protests in Xinjiang that spread to other cities in China over the following days, with many people expressing condolences for the victims and calling for an end to China’s strict zero-COVID lockdowns, compulsory COVID-19 testing and mass tracking and surveillance via the Health Code smartphone app, as per Radio Free Asia.