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Xi Has Few Good Options to End Historic China Covid Protests

  • Chinese president faces most difficult challenge of his tenure
  • Cracking down and easing virus measures both carry risks
Bloomberg business news
WATCH: People in Beijing take to the street venting their anger and frustrations over Covid restrictions.Source: Bloomberg
Updated on

The protests that erupted against China’s Covid Zero strategy represent one of the most significant challenges to Communist Party rule since the Tiananmen crisis more than 30 years ago. How Xi Jinping responds to it may end up being just as pivotal for the country’s future. 

From the capital Beijing to the far western outpost of Kashgar, Chinese residents frustrated by lockdowns and mass-testing campaigns have taken to the streets in recent days to urge change. In Shanghai -- stricken by a grueling two-month Covid clampdown earlier this year -- one crowd called for Xi to step down, defying the risk of a long prison term. Demonstrations ranged from a few people to street rallies of hundreds.