Catch-up: The demonstrations have snowballed from a response to a snap lockdown in Shenzhen in September to cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan, and Chengdu, and in some cases, expanding into broader, serious anti-government sentiments.
- It’s been called the country's most significant display of civil unrest since the infamous Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.
Driving the news: After meeting with Xi, EU officials believe he’s keen to loosen Covid restrictions and shift focus to mass vaccinations instead of mass lockdowns. China’s vice-premier Sun Chunlan also suggested the country was entering a “new stage”.
- Some areas recently rolled back mass PCR testing, and Chengdu and Guangzhou no longer require a negative test to enter public places like offices and malls.
Why it matters: This would mark a massive U-turn for China after adamant adherence to some of the world’s strictest Covid policies at the expense of crippling economic growth.