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Bota

Protests "invade" China, the immediate reaction of the USA comes

Protests "invade" China, the immediate reaction of the USA comes

The White House has placed itself in a delicate position with China, its biggest competitor, by openly expressing support for the peaceful protests that have sprung up across the country. But because of them, administration officials are carefully weighing words about China's strict "zero-COVID" policies. VOA correspondent Anita Powell reports from the White House.

Street protests have rocked several Chinese cities in recent days, after 10 people died in a fire that broke out in an apartment building that was being kept under lockdown by authorities, sparking widespread anger over strict COVID controls.

In the White House, the reaction was measured.

"Our message to peaceful protesters around the world is the same and unchanged: people must be allowed the right to assemble and protest peacefully against policies, or laws, or dictates that they oppose." said John Kirby with the National Security Council.

But, Mr. Kirby added, the administration was cautious in discussing Beijing's tight handling of the pandemic, which has led to the closure of schools and businesses and kept tens of millions of people confined to their homes.

"Lockdowns are not a policy we support here. Of course, there are people in China who have concerns about this, and they are protesting. We believe they should be able to do so peacefully."

In Congress, US lawmakers have been more outspoken, highlighting protesters' complaints about Chinese government censorship, symbolized by blank white pieces of paper.

"We are seeing the Chinese people rise up against the draconian approach of the Chinese Communist Party and be concerned not only about the policies of COVID, but also about censorship. I am on the side of the Chinese people. "I think the Chinese people are expressing their desire to have more freedom and less censorship in their country, and I stand with them," said Democratic Senator Mark Warner.

Qeveria e Kinës ka kundërshtuar akuzën se zjarri në apartament, në rajonin Xinjiang të Kinës veriperëndimore, ku jeton pakica myslimane ujgure, u shkaktua nga politikat e tyre për pandeminë.

“Në mediat sociale ka forca me motive të fshehta që e lidhin këtë zjarr me reagimin ndaj COVID-19”, tha zëdhënësi i ministrisë së Jashtme kineze Zhao Lijian.

Ai nuk tha se kur do të përfundonte kjo politikë.

Vëzhguesit që ndjekin zhvillimet nga afër thonë se një gjë është e qartë: protestat janë të pazakonshme.

"These are actions that put you in prison. It is very significant that people are willing to speak publicly, loudly, register and try to mobilize other people to support this. It's a sign of how angry people are. I wouldn't say it's a movement or anything like that. But it's different from normal protests in China, which are usually much more localized," Julian Ku, with Hofstra University, told VOA.

And it's clear that these strict policies — aimed at stopping the spread of the virus — aren't stopping the spread of discontent.

Protests in support of those in China have also taken place in other cities around the world, such as that of the Uighur community in front of the State Department building on Monday here in Washington./VOA