Your Friday Briefing: Covid Protests Grow in China

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As China’s harsh Covid rules stretch well into their third year, there are increasing signs of discontent across the country. The resistance is a test of Xi Jinping’s leadership.

Thousands of workers clashed with riot police at Foxconn’s iPhone factory in Zhengzhou. Employees lashed out at a delay in bonus payments and the company’s failure to properly isolate new hires from those who tested positive. The new employees were hired after thousands of workers fled the Foxconn factory last month due to a Covid outbreak.

Elsewhere, unrest is spreading. In Guangzhou, migrant workers broke out of locked buildings to confront health workers and loot food supplies. Online, many raged after a 4-month-old baby died. Her father said restrictions had slowed access to treatment.

Political consequences: Xi has used heavy censorship and severe punishment to silence critics, making the public expression of grievances particularly striking. Many Chinese have questioned the need for lockdowns in the first place. The turmoil underscores the pressing question of how Xi can lead China out of the Covid era.

Record Cases: Covid outbreaks across the country have pushed the number of cases to an all-time high. On Wednesday, the country reported 31,444 cases, surpassing an April record. Reuters reported that. The number of cases is up 314 percent from the average two weeks ago.


Malaysia’s longtime opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as prime minister yesterday. He faces a divided country: part of the electorate sees itself as modern and multicultural; another is driven by a conservative Muslim base.

Anwar’s rise to the top post came after days of political chaos: Saturday’s elections led to the first-ever hung parliament. (No group won a majority, although his faction had the most seats.) Anwar said he had a “convincing majority” to lead his multi-ethnic coalition.

A stunning comeback: Anwar, 75, was deputy prime minister and twice a political prisoner. Urban and charismatic, he often speaks of the importance of democracy and quotes from both Gandhi and the Quran.

Challenges: Anwar will face a more religiously conservative bloc of the electorate, which sees him as too liberal. He pledged to continue to uphold constitutional guarantees regarding the Malay language, Islam and the special rights of the ‘sons of the land’, referring to the Malays and the indigenous people.


As families in the US gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving, a few of them suddenly found themselves in front of an empty chair following the country’s latest spate of mass shootings. Fourteen people were killed in three rampages over two weeks.

They include a janitor working his shift at a Walmart in Virginia, a 40-year-old woman returning to Colorado for the holidays, a young man watching a drag show, and three college football players.

White and black, gay and straight, old and young, the newly departed exemplify the ideals — inclusiveness, aside from difference — that the US takes pride in during Thanksgiving, writes our reporter Michael Wilson.

In 2009, UNESCO declared Manx, a Celtic language native to the Isle of Man, extinct. This annoyed the residents, who made a double effort to preserve the old language. It is now experiencing a revival thanks to a local school. “It was kind of on point, but we brought it back to life,” the director said.

Les Knight has pushed one message for decades: “May we live long and die out.”

Knight is the founder of the Voluntary Human Extinction movement, which believes that the best thing people can do to help the Earth is to stop having children. (Another of his catchphrases: “Thanks for not fapping.”)

“Look what we’ve done to this planet,” Knight told The Times. “We’re not a good species.”

His beliefs are rooted in deep ecology, a theory that sees other species as equally important, and he sees humans as the most destructive invasive species. (In the past half-century, as human populations doubled, wild animal populations dropped by 70 percent, and research has shown that having a child is less the most important way to reduce one’s carbon footprint.)

But not all scientists agree that overpopulation is a major factor in the climate crisis. India, for example, is densely populated but contributes relatively little per capita to greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, some experts say that focus could distract from the need to ditch fossil fuels and preserve the planet for the living things that are already here.