China, Unrest Shakes Up Xi Jinping’s government
Unprecedented unrest has engulfed China over the country’s strict COVID-19 measures. Massive anti-blockade protests broke out simultaneously across China, especially in major cities such as Zhengzhou, Urumqi, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Xinjiang, and Chongqing. It is the largest nationwide mass protest in China since the 1989 crackdown, and it is likely to spread further and eventually change the entire situation. China is the only major country continuing to pursue a strict COVID-zero approach to the virus, and after nearly three years of restrictions, citizens are beginning to wonder when society will open up.
Video footage shows students at Beijing’s Tsinghua University openly opposing the COVID lockdowns where students were chanting “democracy, rule of law and Freedom of Expression”. The university is the alma mater of Chinese leader Xi Jinping who is alumni. More extraordinary scenes have captured the world’s attention. A video on Urumqi Road in Shanghai shows crowds chanting “Communist Party step down, Down with Xi Jinping” in unison. A deadly fire in Urumqi, the capital of China’s Xinjiang region, has unleashed the most defiant eruption of public anger against the ruling Communist Party in years. Anger over the deadly fire has built on long-simmering frustration over pandemic restrictions; Xinjiang has been under strict lockdown measures for over 100 days. In Shanghai, some residents even called for the party’s leader, Xi Jinping, to step down. The police across the road did not stop it.
Large-scale protests in China, especially in Xinjiang, are rare, given the extensive blanket of high-tech surveillance measures authorities have imposed on the region to quell what the government sees as separatist or extremist tendencies. “Unshakeable” authoritarian regimes are now being shaken at their very core. China has seen nearly 40,000 COVID cases in the last few days, a record in 11 months. Almost three years ago, China was the first country where the epidemic broke out; the epidemic situation in most countries was more severe than that in China, especially the United States, which was regarded as the country with the worst epidemic in the world. At that time, Communist China claimed that there were zero infections and patted its back as the most successful country in the world in epidemic prevention. Now China suddenly claims that the epidemic is severe and needs to be “dynamically cleared.” From best to worst overnight without even a transition period.
Chinese previous claims of “zero infection” must be a big lie, and now it claims that the epidemic is extremely serious, while the whole world has declared the end of the epidemic. Why have other countries returned to normal life long ago, but China is still in complete lockdown? Why are widespread protests enraging all across China?
After three years of epidemic blockade, most Chinese people are already stretched beyond their means and unable to make ends meet. Now there is no sign of the end of the ban, so it is better to fight than to wait for death. No matter how brutal the regime is, people will resist in desperate situations. It is time for China to change again today. The escape from Foxconn in Zhengzhou and protests against the blockade sparked a wave of resistance across the country. Everyone could not hold back anymore. Suddenly there was a glimmer of hope. It is the main reason people in many places took to the streets to hold large-scale anti-blockade protests in the past few days.
The government may find a way to stop the protests or placate the people demonstrating. However, the situation is highly unpredictable.