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China’s Lockdown Protests Grow

 



Swelling protests against pandemic restrictions in China are injecting uncertainty and instability into the global economy as nations struggle to manage the effects of the energy crisis, inflation and the war in Ukraine. Analysts warn that more unrest could further disrupt the global supply chain and might even push companies in the U.S. and Europe to disengage from China.



Anger at China’s restrictive “zero Covid” policies turned to widespread protest after an apartment fire last week killed 10 people; many questioned whether a tight lockdown had prevented their escape. 



It is unclear whether the demonstrations will be quickly snuffed out or erupt into broader resistance to the iron rule of China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, but so far the most significant economic damage stems from major lockdowns.



Concerns about the economic impact of the unrest appeared to be partly responsible for a decline in world markets yesterday. The S&P 500 index closed 1.5 percent lower, while the dollar, often a haven in turbulent times, moved higher. Oil prices began the day with a sharp drop before rebounding.


Memes, puns and blank sheets of paper: In a country where the authorities have little tolerance for open dissent, demonstrators against Covid restrictions have turned to more subtle methods.


U.S. response: The Biden administration reacted cautiously to the protests, saying only, “We’ve long said every


one has the right to peacefully protest, in the U.S. and around the world.”

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