News analysis

Shift in China’s Covid-19 approach could embolden protesters in future

China's draconian lockdowns led to protests in many Chinese cities, including this one in Shanghai on Nov 27. PHOTO: NYTIMES
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BEIJING - China’s nascent unwinding of some tough Covid-19 restrictions, coupled with a nationwide effort to arrest and round up protesters, has seen quiet returning to the streets. But the anti-lockdown demonstrations, though short-lived, could mark a patent tilt in the balance of power towards the people.

In a sign that the central government has heard protest demands, the megacities of Guangzhou and Chongqing have eased movement curbs, allowing residents to leave their compounds.

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