Deadly Xinjiang fire stirs anger at China’s zero-Covid policy
BEIJING, Nov 26: A deadly fire in China's northwest Xinjiang region has spurred an outpouring of anger at the country's zero-Covid policy, as Beijing fights growing public fatigue over its hardline approach to containing the coronavirus.
Ten people were killed and nine injured when the blaze ripped through a residential building in the regional capital Urumqi on Thursday night, according to state news agency Xinhua.
Online posts circulating on both Chinese and overseas social media platforms since Friday have claimed that lengthy Covid lockdowns in the city hampered rescue attempts.
Some videos appeared to show crowds of people taking to the streets of Urumqi to protest against the measures.
The action comes against a backdrop of mounting public frustration over the government's zero-tolerance approach to Covid and follows sporadic protests in other cities.
China is the last major economy wedded to a zero-Covid strategy, with authorities wielding snap lockdowns, lengthy quarantines and mass testing to snuff out new outbreaks as they emerge.
Footage partially verified by AFP shows hundreds of people massing outside the Urumqi city government offices during the night, chanting: "Lift lockdowns!"
In another clip, dozens of people are seen marching through a neighbourhood in the east of the city, shouting the same slogan before facing off with a line of hazmat-clad officials and angrily rebuking security personnel. -AFP