China’s COVID-19 lockdown measures prompt protesters in NYC, Harvard, Chicago

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Hundreds of people rallied Tuesday at Harvard University and near the Chinese consulates in New York and Chicago in support of protesters demanding the resignation of that country’s leader amid tough anti-virus restrictions in the largest anti-government demonstrations in Beijing have in decades.

About 50 protesters, mostly students from the elite Ivy League school, sang songs in Chinese and English and chanted slogans in both languages, including: “We are not slaves, we are citizens!” “We don’t want dictatorships, we want elections.” !” and “Resign, Xi Jinping,” a nod to China’s president.

Many gathered at the statue of the university’s namesake, John Harvard, wore masks – not because of COVID-19, but concerned that their families at home would face consequences if recognized by Chinese authorities.

Relatives could be harassed or even lose their jobs, said Wayne, a Harvard student from China who attended the demonstration and didn’t want his full name used out of concern for relatives back home.

Dozens of students and faculty demonstrate against China's tough antivirus measures at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on November 29, 2022.

Dozens of students and faculty demonstrate against China’s tough antivirus measures at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on November 29, 2022.


A man places a mask over the eyes of the John Harvard statue in Harvard Yard as nearly 100 students and faculty demonstrated at Harvard University on November 29, 2022 against China's tough antivirus measures.

A man places a mask over the eyes of the John Harvard statue in Harvard Yard as nearly 100 students and faculty demonstrated at Harvard University on November 29, 2022 against China’s tough antivirus measures.


In New York, about 400 people gathered across from the consulate, holding signs reading “Citizenship, Freedom” and “Free China.”

In Chicago, about 200 protesters gathered in front of the Chinese consulate. Some chanted, “We don’t want PCR tests, we want food!” and “We don’t want a dictator, we want votes!”

Protesters brought flowers, lit candles and covered their faces with shields, masks and blank sheets, which Chinese protesters have used to symbolize resistance to government censorship.

“I came because I want to do whatever I can to help my people,” said a 21-year-old in a hazmat suit, a reference to the suits worn by people carrying out mandatory COVID-19 testing in China.

A person holds up a placard while taking part in anti-Chinese government protests near the Chinese Consulate in New York City November 29, 2022.
A person holds up a placard while taking part in anti-Chinese government protests near the Chinese Consulate in New York City November 29, 2022.
REUTERS

She asked to be identified only as a performance artist because her parents are Chinese Communist Party members and she fears they could be arrested if she were identified.

“They would be very concerned” if they knew she was protesting, she said.

The Chinese authorities’ restrictive “zero-COVID” strategy has prompted demonstrations in at least eight mainland cities and Hong Kong. They have been described as the most widespread protests since the student-led pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Some Chinese universities have sent students home and police have swarmed in Beijing and Shanghai to quell further protests on Tuesday. Security forces arrested an unknown number of people and increased surveillance.

Activists light candles outside the Chinese consulate in Chicago on November 29, 2022 during a rally in support of protesters in China.
Activists light candles outside the Chinese consulate in Chicago on November 29, 2022 during a rally in support of protesters in China.
AP

A protest was also held at Columbia University on Monday, and demonstrations in support of the Chinese people have been held or are planned at other US universities in the coming days.

Harvard protesters also laid flowers at the base of the statue — a famous spot in Harvard Yard that’s usually surrounded by tourists — to honor the 10 people killed in a fire in northwest China last week, deaths that some attributed to the tight antivirus controls.

Brabeeba Wang, a former Harvard student who is now studying neuroscience at nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was revealed playing his violin to accompany the vocals.

“It’s great to see people fighting for their freedom and freedom of expression,” said Wang, who is originally from Taiwan.

He called the protesters in China “courageous” to stand up to the government

https://nypost.com/2022/11/30/chinas-covid-19-lockdown-measures-prompts-protesters-in-nyc-harvard-chicago/ China’s COVID-19 lockdown measures prompt protesters in NYC, Harvard, Chicago

JACLYN DIAZ

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