China blamed “forces with ulterior motives” for linking a deadly fire in the western Xinjiang region to strict COVID measures.
“It is true that there are some examples of ulterior motives on social media, linking the fire to local policies to combat the epidemic. The Urumqi municipal government has held a relevant press conference to clarify the facts and refute the relevant rumours and smears,” said China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian in a Beijing briefing on Monday.
Asked at the press briefing about the demonstrations which sparked in the aftermath of the deadly Urumqi fire, Zhao Lijian also said the government’s “fight against COVID-19 will be successful”, a day after people took to the streets across the country to protest against strict virus controls.
Zhao Lijian also commented on BBC saying Chinese police assaulted its journalist at a COVID protest in Shanghai.
“At the time of the incident, local law enforcement officers persuaded the personnel at the scene to leave, and took them away from the scene if the relevant personnel refused to cooperate,” Zhao said.