Jiang Zemin: a look back at the former Chinese president’s rule – video obituary

The former Chinese president Jiang Zemin, who led his country out of isolation after the crushing of pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square and supported economic reforms that led to a decade of explosive growth, has died aged 96. Jiang died from leukaemia and multiple organ failure in Shanghai at 12.13pm local time, the official Xinhua news agency said

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From blank paper to alpacas: how protesters in China are voicing their anger – video

The largest protests in a generation erupted in cities across China over the weekend against the government’s zero-Covid policy. 

The most widely used symbol in the demonstrations has been a blank sheet of paper. It symbolises censorship, and may also, some Twitter users pointed out, be read as a reference to the deaths last week of 10 people in a building fire in Urumqi, Xinjiang, which was blamed on lockdown restrictions that protesters believe prevented the residents from escaping in time. In China, white is a colour used at funerals. But protesters have found other creative ways to express their anger, as Helen Sullivan explains

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Protesters clash with hazmat suit-clad riot police in Guangzhou, China – video

Protesters scuffled with police on Tuesday night, according to witnesses and footage. Video shared on social media shows security personnel in hazmat suits forming shoulder-to-shoulder ranks and taking cover under riot shields to make their way down a street in Haizhu district as protesters threw objects.

On Wednesday afternoon, authorities announced a lifting of Covid lockdowns in about half of the districts across the southern city of Guangzhou. The easing of restrictions, which came despite rising cases in the city, did not extend to all districts, including parts of Haizhu.

The city recorded almost 7,000 Covid cases on Tuesday. In Haizhu, there have been several protests and clashes with police over the past month, with the latest incident escalating dramatically on Friday

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Jiang Zemin obituary
Chinese leader who oversaw economic growth and a stable relationship with the US, and encouraged his country to ‘enter the world’

Jiang Zemin, who has died aged 96, was put in charge of the Chinese Communist party as its general secretary in May 1989 amid the turmoil of Tiananmen Square, in a move that destroyed any chance of a peaceful outcome to the protests. By siding with the conservative forces who bloodily suppressed the students’ call for democracy and reform, Jiang secured his succession to the presidency four years later.

By the time he retired in 2002, China had been transformed. Shopping centres rose along the Avenue of Everlasting Peace, where tanks and armoured cars had killed protesters. Young families ate in McDonald’s and KFC instead of buying pancakes from street vendors, and a new metro ran under the square, carrying the tens of thousands who once had cycled to work. And in the year before Jiang stepped down, China “entered the world” – the phrase used by the Chinese media for joining the World Trade Organization. In spite of some shaky episodes, Jiang also succeeded in building a stable relationship with the US.

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‘People want to live’: views from China on the Covid lockdown protests

Four people give their take on the protests against China’s zero Covid policy

Protests against China’s zero Covid policy have continued in cities including Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu. The protests are a remarkable expression of defiance in a country where this type of public dissent is rare. They often feature people holding up blank sheets of paper, symbolising censorship.

Four people in various Chinese cities spoke to the Guardian on condition of anonymity to share their views on the protests.

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Tokyo same-sex marriage ruling ‘a step forward’, say campaigners

Court rules same-sex marriage ban is constitutional but says lack of legal protection is human rights violation

A court in has ruled that Japan’s ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional, but said the lack of legal protection for same-sex couples violated their human rights, a step welcomed by equality campaigners.

Japan is the only G7 nation that does not allow same-sex marriage and its constitution defines marriage as based on “the mutual consent of both sexes”. The conservative ruling party of the prime minister, Fumio Kishida, has shown no interest in legalising same-sex marriage, although polls show a majority of voters support it.

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Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin dies at 96

State media say Jiang died from leukaemia and multiple organ failure in Shanghai

China’s former leader Jiang Zemin, who was elevated to the head of the Communist party as a loyalist during the Tiananmen protests and then presided over years of economic expansion, has died aged 96.

The cause of death was leukaemia and multiple organ failure, state media said. His life ended in a hospital in Shanghai, the city that was his power base, and has been the scene of recent protests against the government and its Covid controls.

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Covid restrictions lifted in Guangzhou and Chongqing after China protests

Announcements ordered the removal of ‘control orders’ and to designate areas as low risk

Authorities have abruptly lifted Covid restrictions in the Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Chongqing, where protesters scuffled with police on Tuesday night, as police searched for demonstrators in other cities and the country’s top security body called for a crackdown on “hostile forces”.

After days of extraordinary protests in the country that also prompted international demonstrations in solidarity, the US and Canada urged China not to harm or intimidate protesters opposing Covid-19 lockdowns.

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Either in lockdown or preparing for lockdown: life amid zero-Covid in Beijing

Living under China’s policy to suppress Covid cases means days are filled with health codes, the constant threat of shutdowns and moments of hope

Life in Beijing these days is spent either in lockdown or preparing for lockdown. Stockpiling food at home, just in case, has become the new norm. Meeting friends is hard because every few weeks one of us is sealed inside their home for days. Carrying out the daily routine of only working, eating and sleeping has become interminably boring and there are the complicated new technologies and rules we have to navigate.

The health code dominates every aspect of our lives here. Because the results of my mandatory Covid test, taken every 48 hours, are connected to my public transport pass, I don’t have to use my health code to get into the subway station. But when I arrive at the gate outside my work building, I have to show my scan result to the guard. The young man in uniform gives me a slight nod, his facial expression hidden under the mask. A smattering of cars run through the bright Gingko tree-lined streets.

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‘Destitution is almost inevitable’: Afghan refugees in Greece left homeless by failed system

Catch-22 system leaves people facing eviction upon being granted refugee status – yet unable to claim rent subsidies without accommodation

Mohammad Ashraf Rasooli, 70, looks at his five-year-old granddaughter, sitting on the floor next to him watching cartoons on a phone. They live in a two-bedroom flat in a suburb of Athens. “Even tomorrow, we don’t know what will happen to us,” he says.

The former judge and legal adviser to the Afghan Ministry of Justice, who had a role in putting together the 2004 Afghan constitution, is facing eviction with his family, including his three grandchildren. This is in line with regulations in Greece, which state that once someone has obtained refugee status, they must leave the accommodation provided for them within 30 days.

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South Korea scrambles jets after Chinese and Russian warplanes enter air defence zone

Chinese bombers repeatedly entered and left zone but did not violate South Korean airspace

South Korea’s military said it scrambled fighter jets as two Chinese and six Russian warplanes entered its air defence zone.

The Chinese H-6 bombers repeatedly entered and left the Korea Air Defence Identification Zone (Kadiz) off South Korea’s southern and north-eastern coasts from about 5.50am local time on Wednesday, Seoul’s joint chiefs of staff (JCS) said.

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Parents refuse use of vaccinated blood in life-saving surgery on baby

New Zealand’s health services go to court over guardianship of four-month-old boy whose parents have not let heart operation go ahead

New Zealand’s health service has made a court application over the guardianship of a four-month-old baby whose parents are refusing to allow his life-saving heart surgery to go ahead unless non-vaccinated blood is used.

The parents of the baby discussed their son’s health situation and their medical preferences in an interview with an anti-vaccination campaigner.

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