Ahead Of Jinping’s Coronation, A Rare Protest Against Covid-Zero Lockdowns In Beijing
Ahead of the 20th Communist Party Congress, Chinese censors are having sleepless nights.
As President Xi Jinping prepares to secure a third term, images and videos have surfaced online from Beijing calling for his removal, .
Censors are now penalising social media users, suspending accounts at will, who share the protest images as the nation prepares for its most important political gathering in over five years.
The protest, however, was restricted to single fire and two handwritten banners hung from an overpass.
The protest was against the Covid-zero lockdowns that have paralysed the country’s economy.
One of the banners, images of which made it to Twitter, read ‘We don’t want figureheads, we want to vote, don’t be a slave but a citizen'.
Thousands of WeChat users shared these images on their profiles, only to find themselves locked out of the platform permanently.
As per the report in The Financial Times, many users were later pleading to the customer services of the social media platforms, begging for their accounts to be restored and apologising for sharing the protest images.
The social networks too blocked all the keywords related to the protest, including warrior and brave.
In early September, In China, more than 3,200 locations were tagged as ‘medium to high risk’, with some Covid-19 restrictions in place.
On 1 August, the number was a little less than 1,100. Only this year, since 10 March, Shanghai has been under full or partial lockdown for 92 days, Dalian for 64, Beijing for 57, Changchun for 55, Jinan for 46, Tangshan for 34, Xuzhou for 30, Nanchang for 26, Taiyuan for 24, and Wuxi for 20.
Xi’s Achilles' heel, however, is not economic stagnation or the prevailing real estate crisis, but people's vulnerability to the virus.
As of July 2022, 30 per cent of the elderly in Shanghai were without even a single dose of vaccine.
Compared to 92.8 per cent in Japan, 94 per cent in the United States (US), and 99 per cent in Australia, only 84 per cent of the elderly population have been vaccinated entirely in China, thus aggravating the lockdowns.
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