Your Friday Briefing: Covid Protests Grow in China

As China’s tough covid rules extend into their third year, there are growing signs of discontent across the country. The challenge is a test of Xi Jinping’s leadership.

At Foxconn’s iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, thousands of workers clashed with riot police. Workers were protesting the delay in paying bonuses, as well as the company’s inability to properly isolate new workers from those who had tested positive. The new employees were recruited after thousands of workers fled the Foxconn plant last month due to a Covid-19 outbreak.

The unrest is spreading to other places. In Guangzhou, migrant workers broke out of locked buildings to confront health workers and loot food supplies. Online, many have been enraged after the death of a 4-month-old baby. Her father said the restrictions had delayed access to treatment.

Political consequences: Xi has used heavy censorship and harsh punishments to silence critics, making the public outreach of complaints particularly compelling. Many Chinese have questioned the need for lockdowns. The unrest underscores the pressing question of how Xi can lead China out of the Covid era.

Record cases: Covid outbreaks across the country have pushed cases to a record high. On Wednesday, the country reported 31,444 cases, surpassing a record set in April, Reuters reported. Cases have increased by 314 percent from the average of two weeks ago.


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

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

An impressive comeback: Anwar, 75, has been a deputy prime minister and twice a political prisoner. Urban and charismatic, he often speaks about the importance of democracy and quotes from Gandhi and the Koran.

Challenges: Anwar will have to deal with a more religiously conservative bloc of the electorate, which sees him as too liberal. He vowed to continue upholding constitutional guarantees regarding the Malay language, Islam, and the special rights of the “sons of the earth,” meaning Malays and indigenous peoples.


As families across the US gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving, some of them suddenly found themselves with an empty chair after the latest wave of mass shootings in the country. Fourteen people died in three riots over two weeks.

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

Black and white, gay and straight, old and young, the recently deceased are the very picture of the ideals (inclusivity, putting differences aside) America prides itself on on Thanksgiving Day, writes our reporter Michael Wilson.

In 2009, UNESCO declared Manx, a Celtic language native to the Isle of Man, extinct. That angered residents, who redoubled efforts to preserve the ancient language. Now it is experiencing a renaissance thanks to a local school. “He was on the brink of the abyss, but we have brought him back to life,” said the director.

Les Knight has spent decades pushing a message: “May we live long and be extinct.”

Knight is the founder of the Voluntary Human Extinction movement, which believes that the best thing humans can do to help Earth is to stop having children. (Another of his slogans: “Thank you for not raising”).

“Look what we did to this planet,” Knight told The Times. “We are not a good species.”

Their beliefs are rooted in deep ecology, a theory that views other species as important, and views humans as the most destructive invasive species. (Over the past half century, as the human population has doubled, wildlife populations have declined by 70 percent and Research has shown that having one less child may be the most significant way to reduce your 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, such an approach could distract from the need to ditch fossil fuels and preserve the planet for the living things that are already here.