A Chinese woman was forced to jump out of the window after her locked flat was in flames on the 15th floor of her building. The victim of Xi Jinping’s zero-covid policy can be seen trying to stand on the window ledge of her neighbour. In a desperate bid to save her life, she also grips the window ledge above her with her left hand.
The raging flames and the dark smoke coming out of her flat prevent her from getting back into the flat.
The distressing footage shows smoke darkening and enveloping her. She ends up losing balance and falling down her 30-storey building.
Due to stringent Covid-19 lockdown rules, her flat door was locked, leaving her with no other option but to jump out of the window.
Neighbours can be heard screaming and powerless at the scene, with others visibly in distress after witnessing the shocking fall.
Firefighters later picked up the woman who appeared to be alive and took her to the hospital.
This is one of the many boiling-over frustrations that had been building up among Chinese people with China’s zero-Covid lockdown policy.
After more than 100 days of lockdown, protests erupted in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, after the apartment fire reportedly killed 10 people.
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According to Uyghur scholars, the fire occurred in a majority Uyghur part of the city, and Uyghur families have been the primary victims of the fire.
Protests have since flared up across the country, with demonstrations breaking out in Shanghai, Beijing and on campuses of dozens of universities, creating one of the biggest political challenges to the government since the unrest in Hong Kong in 2019.
In response, local authorities have tried to crack down on protesters last weekend in what was seen as an unprecedented challenge to President Xi Jinping, with some calling on him to resign.
The BBC saw one of its journalists being beaten and arrested by police while covering the protests – and later released.
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The outpouring of anger consumed Chinese social media where people demanded justice for the victims and that the government drop zero-COVID, which has slowed down the economy and upended millions of people’s lives.
Taisu Zhang, a professor at Yale Law School, wrote on social media: “If you’ve been following Chinese politics for long enough, you have to wonder whether the anti-lockdown protests are getting near the point where serious top-down nationwide crackdown becomes pretty much inevitable.”
Protesters chanted words that were previously unimaginable. “Communist Party,” one shouted. “Step down,” the rest of the group responded. “Xi Jinping,” another one called. “Step down,” emboldened demonstrators shouted back.
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