China’s supreme leader has been forced into a humiliating climb down after Beijing caved to popular pressure to drop strict Covid measures. Waves of demonstrations have swept China in recent weeks causing concern among Xi Jinping and the country’s communist elite.
The move comes as China battles a massive spike in infections with over 30,000 cases reported each day.
On Wednesday, China’s National Health Commission announced lockdowns will become more targetted with fewer city-wide restrictions.
Chinese social media reacted with joy at the news of the u-turn.
One person wrote: “Finally! I will no longer worry about getting infected or being taken away as a close contact.”
The recent protests in China are believed to have been triggered after a number of people lost their lives in an apartment building fire in Urumqi after emergency services were reportedly delayed by lockdown rules.
Defense Intelligence Analyst Paul Monk has suggested current anti-lockdown backlash in China could be a “serious turning point” for Xi Jinping’s regime.
Mr Monk told Sky News Australia: “It seems to me various authoritarian regimes crack at different, often unpredictable points due to things that they didn’t foresee.
This could be a very serious turning point for China.”
Footage from the frontline of protests in the city of Guangzhou last week showed riot police in hazmat suits dragging people out of the demonstration.
Missiles and bottles were hurled at the police by the angry protestors.
Hundreds of SUVs, vans and armored vehicles with flashing lights were parked along city streets Wednesday while police and paramilitary forces conducted random ID checks and searched people’s mobile phones for photos, banned apps or other potential evidence that they had taken part in the demonstrations.
The number of people who have been detained at the demonstrations and in follow-up police actions is not known.