China To Lift Some Travel Tracking As It Eases Covid Restrictions

December 12, 2022

China’s government said Monday that it would stop tracking some travel among its citizens as it continued to ease draconian Covid restrictions that led to widespread protests three weekends ago.

As of 12am Monday, the part of a citizen’s smart phone app that recorded his or her travel between cities and provinces showed an out-of-service message. Meanwhile, a second app that is used to restrict movement among those who test positive for Covid, or enter an area with a recent outbreak, does remain in effect. 

The apps are part of a pandemic package put in place by local governments, some of which have also been used to crack down on protesters.

The move is the latest by the Chinese government following its announcement last week that it would ease some of its “zero Covid policy.”

During the last weekend of November, unprecedented protests broke out across the country, with some calling for the removal of President Xi Jinping. They were sparked by a deadly fire in the Xinjiang region that previous Thursday which was made worse when fire trucks were impeded by by pandemic control barriers and cars stranded by quarantined owners in a months-long Covid lockdown.

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