Protests Erupt Across China

Vivian Wang, reporting for The New York Times from Beijing:

“We don’t want lockdowns, we want freedom!” the protesters shouted
as they wound westward through one of the city’s neatly manicured
embassy districts, where a Four Seasons hotel stands alongside
humble shops selling traditional breakfast crepes. “Freedom of the
press! Freedom of publishing!”

It was an extraordinary scene, rarely seen anywhere in China, let
alone the capital, under Xi Jinping, the country’s authoritarian
leader. But the elation of the moment was laced with anxiety about
what, exactly, was happening. When some people began shouting
explicitly political slogans, others urged them to remain more
narrowly focused on opposing Covid controls. Even what to call the
event depended on who and when you asked — was it a protest? Or
just a vigil? […]

When a police officer told people to stop chanting for an end to
lockdowns, the crowd quickly pivoted. “Continue lockdowns!” they
chanted, in an echo of the sarcasm that had spread online in
recent days, as people shared overblown praise for the government
to protest censorship. “I want to do Covid tests!”

Sarcasm, the gift that keeps on giving. See also: Chinese protestors are holding blank white signs:

“People have a common message,” said Xiao Qiang, a researcher on
internet freedom at the University of California, Berkeley. “They
know what they want to express, and authorities know too, so
people don’t need to say anything. If you hold a blank sheet, then
everyone knows what you mean.”

Some protesters told The New York Times that the white papers took
inspiration from a Soviet-era joke, in which a dissident accosted
by the police for distributing leaflets in a public square reveals
the fliers to be blank. When asked, the dissident replies that
there is no need for words because “everyone knows.”

Read Original post from Daring Fireball

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