Xi Jinping, Chinese Communist Party have fallen into a censorship trap, says US expert

Washington: In the wake of recent nationwide protests in China against Covid restrictions, US-based China analyst Ge Chen said the emergence of discontent in the Communist Party-ruled country is surprising, even given the widespread distaste for the COVID-19 lockdown. And the strong reaction after the fire in Urumqi. “Why are so many Chinese daring to shout slogans of sudden regime change and ousting the paramount leader in a society where censorship is deeply rooted?” asked Ge Chen in his article for the Washington-based The Diplomat magazine.

Ge Chen, who is an assistant professor in Global Media and Information Law at Durham Law School, argued that “Xi and his party have fallen into the web of censorship.”

“In a one-person dictatorship that fails to completely block the free flow of information, the more accurately a supposedly inflammatory speech is targeted at the dictator, the less likely the dictator is to listen,” They said.

“In the process of handling political speech, censoring authorities are required to distinguish speech relating to a dictator from other forms of subversive speech and to separate the former from the dictator. Thus, excessive punishment for those making mass statements The risk of is reduced,” he added.

On December 7, China announced a nationwide relaxation coronavirus restrictionsAllowing home quarantine for close contact with Covid and ending Covid testing rule in most public places.

This comes less than two weeks after massive protests broke out in the country against the zero Covid policy. In the last week of November, hundreds of people began publicly protesting the government’s strict COVID-19 measures in Shanghai, China’s largest city and financial hub.

According to the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), the protesters carried empty banners and chanted slogans such as “Down with the Communist Party” and “Down with Xi Jinping” to avoid arrest and risk being arrested.

On 27 November, university students across the country gathered on their campuses to demonstrate, and that night, hundreds of people in Wuhan, where Origin of COVID-19Chengdu, Beijing and other big cities took to the streets.

The protests in Shanghai were in response to a November 24 fire at an apartment building in Urumqi, the capital of China’s northwest Xinjiang region, that killed at least 10 people.

Media reports suspected residents were prevented from escaping the fire due to pandemic control barriers, and COVID-related restrictions hampered emergency responders. Later, Urumqi residents gathered in front of a government administration building to mourn the deaths and protest the COVID restrictions that have kept the city in lockdown for more than three months.

“The Chinese authorities underestimated the willingness of people across China to risk it all to have their rights and freedoms respected,” said Yaqiu Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch.