In an unusually bold act that appeared to indicate the level of people’s desperation, a crowd in Shanghai called for the removal of the Communist party and Xi Jinping in a standoff with police on Saturday, according to videos circulated on Twitter. Chinese people usually refrain from criticising the party and its leaders in public for fear of reprisals. “Communist party! Step down! Xi Jinping! Step down!” they chanted.
In other footage, people chanted, “No PCR tests, we want freedom!”, followed by rounds of repeated calls for “Freedom! Freedom!”. The slogan echoed the call of a lone protester in Beijing in October. According to photos posted on Chinese social media, a note stuck to a lamppost on Shanghai’s upmarket Urumqi road middle section says: “To our friends in Urumqi: I love you like I love this road, like I love my family. November 26th, 22.”
Other photos show a candlelit vigil in front of a luxury apartment compound on the same street, among a sea of white candles, with a cardboard sign reading: “Urumqi November 24. May those who died rest in peace.” The Guardian has verified that the footage and photos were taken in Shanghai.