Protesters swamp Xinjiang streets in China after 10 killed in deadly lockdown apartment blaze

Image from Xinjiang province in northwest China. Credit: @businessbasiics

The deaths of 10 people in a lethal apartment block blaze in the Xinjiang province of northwest China have provoked serious protests on the streets as protesters clash with officials.


After 10 people died during an apartment fire in the Xinjiang province of northwest China, masses of protesters took to the streets today, Saturday 26. The fatal incident occurred late on Thursday, November 24, amid claims that the strict coronavirus lockdown led to their deaths.

Local authorities in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi confirmed that another nine residents had suffered injuries in the blaze. It is believed the fire started on the 15th floor and spread as far as the 21st floor. Residents revolted shortly after and flooded the streets shouting anti-government chants and ‘end the lockdown’.

As a result of Beijing’s draconian ‘dynamic zero COVID’ policy, an estimated four million people have now been confined to their homes for around 100 days. The province is home to the persecuted Uyghur minority. 

Social media has been inundated with video footage showing hazmat-suited officials coming under attack from residents who have clearly had enough of the situation. In one video, they can be heard singing ‘Rise up, those who refuse to be slaves!’, a line from the Chinese national anthem. Others reportedly shouted ‘Communist Party resign, Xi Jinping resign!’.

Following claims that the lockdown prevented the deceased from being rescued in time, a news conference was hastily convened on Friday evening by local officials, as reported by Sky News.

China has seen some of the strictest Covid lockdowns in the world but had recently claimed they would be relaxed. In the complete opposite, the cities of Beijing and Shanghai have both had the requirements for entering the majority of public places tightened. Anybody wishing to enter establishments must now produce a negative Covid test taken in the last 48 hours.

Author David Moser tweeted @david__moser: “I’ve lived in China for 30 years, and I’ve never seen such a brazenly open and sustained expression of rage against the PRC govt. WeChat is exploding with protest videos and furious vitriol, and civil disobedience is becoming rampant. This is a serious test of CCP governance”.


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Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]