China’s Unprecedented Protests, Explained
Families in a hi-rise in China were locked into their apartments as their building caught fire. Urumqi, in Xinjiang Province— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) November 28, 2022
They burned alive as they couldn’t escape and no one could get to them in time
This is directly on the CCP and Xi’s Zero-Covid lockdown strategy pic.twitter.com/AWQ4oJA7Qg
An apartment fire in Urumqi, China, left at least 10 dead and injured at least nine others on Nov. 24, sparking nationwide and global protests against the Chinese Communist Party’s “zero-COVID-19” policy.
“It was really sparked by the fire in Urumqi. So, China has sort of a practice in its ‘zero-COVID’ policy of when it locks down cities or buildings, lots of times it’ll erect barricades or sometimes even lock or weld people inside,” said Michael Cunningham, a research fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
“And so, we’re not sure if any of that happened, but there’s a public perception that that was probably the case, and that that’s one of the reasons why so many people died in that fire,” he said.
Cunningham also discussed what the protesters are risking by speaking out against the communist regime.
“Well, the protesters are risking everything. The [Chinese Communist Party] is an extremely powerful and an extremely brutal regime. It does not accept any dissent. So, I have to say, protests are not unheard of in China. They’re actually quite common, but they’re usually against local officials,” he explained.
“And so the stakes there aren’t nearly as high as when you’re literally standing up as some protesters have and said the [Chinese Communist Party] and [President] Xi Jinping have to go. Or when they’re standing up and saying, ‘No more totalitarianism. We want democracy,’ which is what we heard in some of the protests, as well, over the weekend,” Cunningham added.
Cunningham joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to discuss the ongoing civil unrest throughout China and protests around the world, the likelihood that Xi could be ousted, and the Vatican’s criticism of the Chinese Communist Party.
Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript, below.
We’re watching history in China right now. Protests against the communist party and Xi Jinping have spread to Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, Zhengzhou, Lanzhou, Lhasa, Hotan, Korla, Urumqi and more. No matter what happens, these people openly demanding freedom is historic! pic.twitter.com/gJrH4QsxHR— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) November 27, 2022
Samantha Aschieris: Over the weekend, protests erupted throughout China, and even throughout the world, in response to the nation’s zero-COVID policy, as well as a fire in an apartment building in Urumqi that left at least 10 people dead and at least nine people injured. I’m thrilled to welcome back Michael Cunningham, a research fellow in the Asian Studies Center here at The Heritage Foundation, to discuss these protests and more. Michael, thanks so much for joining us. Rest here.
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The police are encountering the biggest uprising since Tiananmen Square. But this time they may have a better chance of success. While XI Jinping recently seized all power in China, a former diplomat has warned that he will be ousted in a coup as he faces an unprecedented uprising. Roger Garside – author of China Coup: The Great Leap to Freedom – believes Xi Jinping will be overthrown by internal opponents within the Chinese Communist Party in a coup.
Police checking people’s cellphone at the subway in #Shanghai, as a way to crackdown on the #ChinaUprising #ChinaProtest2022 #A4Revolution #BlankPapersRevolution #chinaprotest pic.twitter.com/Cea1g9lp2D— Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 (@jenniferzeng97) November 29, 2022
Last Thursday, a street protestor in the hinterland metropolis Chongqing eloquently addressed a cheering crowd, “there is only one type of disease in the world — lack of freedom and poverty. We have it both in China!” After he quoted Patrick Henry “Give me liberty or give me death!” repeatedly, the police tried to arrest him, only to be repulsed by an angry crowd who promptly overwhelmed the fully armed police and rescued the protestor. NYPOST
The blank sheet of paper has become a symbol of resistance among those protesting Beijing’s COVID lockdown policies, showing up at protests across the nation.
Videos and photos circulated online show students across China holding up blank sheets of paper in silent protest — an effort to evade the country’s draconian censorship and surveillance laws which we covered here.