Protestors in China share support for Uyghurs, Iranian demonstrations

Protestors in China share support for Uyghurs, Iranian demonstrations
Demonstrators on the streets of Shanghai also voiced rare support for China's oppressed Uyghur Muslim minority.
2 min read
28 November, 2022
Unprecedented protests have swept through China in the last 48 hours [Getty images]

Chinese protestors against the country’s repressive Covid lockdowns shared messages of solidarity with demonstrators in Iran and the Muslim Uyghur population of northern China in chants on Sunday.  

“We don't want a dictatorship. We want democracy. We don't want a leader. We want voting. We stand with the people of Xinjiang. We stand with the women of Iran,” chanted crowds gathering in Shanghai. 

Rights groups say more than one million Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking people have been incarcerated in internment camps across China's northwestern territory, with residents pressured to give up traditional and religious activities.

The streets of China have never witnessed such popular sentiment towards the Uyghurs’ plight, where protest is extremely rare. 

Users of Chinese social media site Weibo have been sharing videos from across the world’s most populous country, as protests over restrictive COVID-19 policies have taken in increasingly broad messaging. 

“Give movies back, we want cinema freedom. We want free expression. Give media back, give us journalism back,” chanted crowds in Beijing. 

People took to the streets in major cities and gathered at university campuses across China on Sunday to call for an end to lockdowns and greater political freedoms, in a wave of protests not seen since pro-democracy rallies in 1989 were crushed.

A deadly fire last week in Urumqi, the capital of northwest China's Xinjiang region, was the catalyst for public anger, with many blaming Covid lockdowns for hampering rescue efforts.

But protesters also called for greater political freedoms, with some even demanding the resignation of China's President Xi Jinping, recently re-appointed to a historic third term as the country's leader.