SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Bay Area residents on Tuesday night showed solidarity amid rare signs of defiance across China.
Over the weekend, thousands came out in China's major cities to protest the government's zero COVID policy.
It is a rule that many in the country are blaming for the deaths of 10 people in an apartment fire in western China.
Emergency crews were unable to respond quickly to the blaze as a result of the barricades put up to keep the building in lockdown.
Those protests also expanded in recent days as demonstrators condemned the Chinese government as a whole and demanded the nation's president step down.
That's a potentially dangerous move in a country that operates as a totalitarian dictatorship.
The demonstrations have sparked solidarity marches around the world.
On Tuesday night, people in both San Jose and San Francisco held vigils to remember the lives lost and support those in China.
"This tragedy motivated many, many people to brave their lives to go on the street to protest the government and some of them have already been arrested," said Kevin Yang.
Many lit candles and some made signs. Others held blank pieces of paper, a symbolic move for the Chinese government's censorship.
While it's extremely unlikely that the Chinese regime would ever step down voluntarily, some present Tuesday said they hope the protestors' message will spread.
"I hope more people, not only American people, but also people around the world who love freedom and democracy, I hope you guys can support the people in China," said James Chen.
And that they'll continue to support them any way they can.
"Always remember we are with you guys. We will continue fighting with you guys," said Yang.
If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live