Major Chinese cities announced an easing of Covid curbs on Wednesday, a day after demonstrators clashed with police amid a string of protests against the country’s harsh coronavirus restrictions.
Demonstrations in social media videos spread over the weekend to Shanghai, Beijing and other cities where Police were later seen escorting away a row of people in handcuffs.
The unprecedented public protestsv are the hardest seen since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.
In Shanghai, China’s largest city, authorities announced that lockdown measures imposed on 24 high-risk areas across 11 districts would be lifted starting Thursday. The cities of Guangzhou and Chongqing also announced less restrictions, only if they fulfil certain conditions like quarantining at home.
As China is reporting record numbers of cases nationwide, experts are wondering how far the government is willing to go to change its “Zero-Covid” policy that has been hailed by officials as one of Xi’s political achievements.
Among cities lifting restrictions is Zhengzhou, home to the world’s largest iPhone factory owned by Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn, where a violent workers’ revolt last week took by surprise analysts.
Daniel Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, said the ongoing supply disruptions were costing Apple roughly $1 billion a week in lost iPhone sales.
The troubles started in October when workers left the campus in Zhengzhou, due to Covid-related fears.