COVID-19 sparks protests over job security, living costs

The Financial Times reports (paywall):

Anger about income loss and job insecurity is beginning to boil over. Shop owners last week staged small-scale protests in at least six cities, from China’s industrial north-east to the southern manufacturing hub of Guangdong.

The South China Morning Post says that Hubei residents are complaining about inflated prices for food and other essential items. In a community in Yingcheng, a city of 600,000 people about an hour’s drive from Wuhan, residents defied lockdown orders to protest after a man was arrested for selling food at lower prices than government-sanctioned suppliers.

I’ve previously argued that the COVID-19 epidemic is likely to enhance the surveillance state, and strengthen Xí Jìnpíng 习近平. But if the economy does not get back to relative normality anytime soon, all bets are off.

—Jeremy Goldkorn