Taiwan calls on China to adjust strict COVID-19 policy amid protests

11/29/2022 11:39 AM
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People holding white sheets of paper gather in Beijing on Sunday to protest the government
People holding white sheets of paper gather in Beijing on Sunday to protest the government's strict COVID-19 restrictions. Photo: Reuters

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Taipei, Nov. 29 (CNA) Taiwan has called on China to respond to people's demands by making changes to its harsh and excessive COVID-19 restrictions following the recent mass protests that have erupted there.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan's top government agency handling relations with China, urged Beijing to treat the protests peacefully and rationally while respecting the protesters' freedom.

Protests have erupted in China against the government's strict zero-tolerance COVID-19 policy after restrictions reportedly delayed rescue efforts in a deadly fire on Nov. 24 in Urumqi, Xinjiang, leading to 10 deaths.

The world, including Taiwan, is closely watching the protests that are currently unfolding in China as more people become disgruntled with its excessive COVID-19 restrictions, the MAC said.

It called on the Chinese government to make gradual changes to its strict epidemic prevention rules so that its people can return to their normal lives.

The MAC also reminded Taiwanese nationals in China to pay close attention to the protests and their personal safety.

Following the apartment fire incident, protests spread to regions across China, including in the capital Beijing and Shanghai and on many university campuses, where protesters have held white sheets of paper in protest and chanted "Step down, Xi Jinping! Step down, Communist Party."

The protests have also led to arrests and harsh crackdowns by the Chinese authorities, according to several international media reports.

(By Wu Chia-jung and Ko Lin)

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