China Begins Crackdown On Protests

China Begins Crackdown On Protests

China Begins Crackdown On Protests

China starting to push back aggressively against the people out protesting “zero COVID” was never the question. The question was, would the Chinese people push back?

Welcome to the reality of living in a totalitarian state. Everything you do can be used to track you.

Yes, the police are detaining people, going through their phones, and forcing them to delete apps, videos, and pictures that might be broadcast out of China. The goal was to stop the protests in the major cities, like Beijing and Shanghai.

It seems like that massive police presence might have succeeded for now.

Videos from the country have emerged in recent days showing both angry protesters and the attempted police crackdown, with protesters overturning tents at the nucleic acid testing site in Guangzhou City Monday. Meanwhile, police arrived at protests in a fire truck in Southern China and attempted to disperse protesters with a fire hose.”

Hmmm. Police using a fire hose to get rid of protesters. You would think Democrats would be paying attention to that one.

The show of force has largely worked to quiet the cities, with no word of additional protests in Shanghai or Beijing on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.”

The Chinese government has faced growing backlash to its strict antivirus measures after an apartment complex fire in the far-west region of the country resulted in the deaths of 10 people, with many pinning the local fire department’s delay getting to the scene on lockdowns resulting from China’s “zero-COVID” policy.”

Protesters have called for an end to the policy, which has disrupted lives and the Chinese economy, while some have called for the resignation of the country’s top leaders.”

Authorities have responded by easing some of the COVID restrictions in an attempt to relax some of the anger but have refused to back down from the country’s larger anti-COVID strategy. Instead, many localities across the country have begun a strict effort to quell any dissent to government authority.”

Chinese universities sent students home on Tuesday in addition to the increased police presence in the streets, with police making checks on people’s phones in the streets and in subway stations. One Shanghai resident, who did not give the Associated Press his name over fears of retribution, said his phone was checked at a subway station while he was on the way to a protest he read about online, but he was unable to find the protest.”

Meanwhile, those who took part in protests over the weekend have reported that authorities are trying to hunt them down, according to a BBC report. Several Beijing residents told the outlet police had called them to demand information about their whereabouts.”

“We are all desperately deleting our chat history,” one Beijing protester said. “Police came to check the ID of one of my friends and then took her away. A few hours later they released her.”

By contrast, Hong Kong protests are continuing. Their citizens know what it is to have some freedom, and the protests inside China have motivated some.

In Hong Kong Monday, about 50 students from mainland China sang at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and some lit candles in a show of support for those in mainland cities who demonstrated against restrictions that have confined millions to their homes. Hiding their faces to avoid official retaliation, the students chanted, “No PCR tests but freedom!” and “Oppose dictatorship, don’t be slaves!”

The gathering and a similar one elsewhere in Hong Kong were the biggest protests there in more than a year under rules imposed to crush a pro-democracy movement in the territory, which is Chinese but has a separate legal system from the mainland.”

“I’ve wanted to speak up for a long time, but I did not get the chance to,” said James Cai, a 29-year-old from Shanghai who attended a Hong Kong protest and held up a piece of white paper, a symbol of defiance against the ruling party’s pervasive censorship. ”If people in the mainland can’t tolerate it anymore, then I cannot as well.”

Well, MAYBE the protesters in China would feel more confident about defying the government if the Biden administration wasn’t full of cowards. This sounds almost exactly like the reaction that the Obama administration had to the “Green Revolution” in Iran in 2009 – which Obama now says was a mistake. How generous of him to admit that more than a decade later, after the Iran Deal has been exposed and trashed, despite the Biden administration’s best attempts to revive the crap deal. Team Biden, which is full of Obama alumni, is using the exact same playbook again when it comes to protests inside a dictatorship that they would reallyreallyreally like to do business with.

Here is what that cowardice sounds like in the mouth of spokesman John Kirby. It’s a bad look for him, and for the administration.

Remember, Biden just met with Xi Jinping at the G20, and he’s always been soft on China. (He kind of had to be while Hunter was making bank there.) Being this weak and pathetic regarding protests against an authoritarian regime is very telling about the administration’s priorities. They love getting the credit for standing up for the “oppressed,” but show them actual oppression by actual dictators, and Team Biden wusses out because they don’t want to offend those same dictators while negotiating with them.

So, short of a protest movement that grows beyond what the Chinese Communist Party can control without violence, or an actual massacre that can’t be covered up before it hits the internet, or the Chinese people finding a way around the government-imposed internet blocks, this current round of protests might well have been neutralized. We shall have to wait and see what happens next.

Featured image: Tomas Roggero via Flickr, cropped and modified, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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