- 1440 Daily Digest
Protests against pandemic lockdowns grew across China over the weekend in light of a deadly Friday blaze in Urumqi, a city in the Xinjiang province in the northwest. Ten residents died when an apartment under lockdown caught fire, with protesters claiming lockdown measures hampered rescue efforts.
Demonstrations involving hundreds took place in at least eight cities—including Beijing and Shanghai—and dozens of universities, where gatherings to mourn the fire victims turned into protests of China's restrictive coronavirus policies. Some protesters even called on President Xi Jinping to step down. China's "zero-COVID" approach—which requires stringent lockdowns in response to an outbreak in cases—has led to periods of social isolation and economic slowdown. Officially reported cases reached an all-time high near 40,000 Saturday.
The upheaval comes a month after the 20th National Congress extended Xi Jinping's reign into a third five-year term, where Xi doubled down on the nation's zero-COVID approach.