Ultra-rare anti-Xi demonstration breaks out in Beijing days before Party Congress set to install him as dictator-for-life
The Chinese Party Congress set to open on Sunday already has Xi Jinping on edge. These gatherings happen only every five years, and this time it is expected to ratify his plan to void term limits and make him in effect dictator-for-life. While it is impossible for outsiders to know the extent of opposition to Xi, almost certainly there are factions that are dead set against this move, based on personal and regional loyalties if not on opposition to his policies and intention to make himself another Mao Zedong.
Thus, a demonstration attacking Xi that broke out in an affluent neighborhood of Beijing must have irritated a man who probably already is on pins and needles. Such demonstrations are extremely rare, especially anything directly attacking Xi. In the Chinese context they are shocking.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Police rushed to a highway bridge in Beijing after a column of dark smoke appeared above protest banners condemning Chinese leader Xi Jinping by name—a rare display of defiance in the capital that came as top Communist Party officials arrived to attend a closely watched political gathering.
Video footage and photographs of the smoke and two banners—one of which had “Depose the Traitorous Dictator Xi Jinping” scrawled on it in red—circulated widely on Chinese social-media platforms Thursday.
Here are some pictures and banner translations from Twitter:
Rare protest in Beijing today: one man putting up banners on a bridge on the 3rd Ring Rd.— Yong Xiong (@yongxiong2008) October 13, 2022
"Say no to PCR, yes to food;
No to lockdown, yes to freedom;
No to lies, yes to dignity;
No to cultural revolution, yes to reform
No to leaders, yes to vote
Don’t be a slave, be a citizen." https://t.co/tw5OHeDzFe
A man in Beijing this afternoon hangs up a banner to protest on his government on the highway. Later on, self-immolation. https://t.co/jQHjG46Iij pic.twitter.com/vaDdd0l8Nm— Eevee Tan (@eevee_tan_char) October 13, 2022
The banner protester in Beijing today even had a loudspeaker blaring out the words….must have been an entirely surreal morning for Haidian commuters pic.twitter.com/hYGzYd78Q4— Ananth Krishnan (@ananthkrishnan) October 13, 2022
This may have been the work of one brave man, who reportedly (on Twitter) was arrested. But the draconian “zero Covid” policy of Xi has no doubt alienated many Chinese people, who have been subjected to extreme hardship, business and factory lockdowns, and isolation in their homes or evacuation centers. Seeing open defiance in an area of Beijing where many ruling class people live has got to shake up Xi, at last a little.
Photo credit: Twitter screengrab