Over the weekend, protesters flooded the streets of China’s cities demanding the end of coronavirus lockdowns as well as the resignation of dictator Xi Jinping.
After a fire in an apartment building killed 10 people, protests quickly grew to an astonishing extent. Urumqi is the capital of occupied East Turkistan. China is currently engaging in genocide against Uyghur Muslims living in the region.
The censors of the Chinese Communist Party were unable stop the blizzards of smartphone videos flooding social networks, which depicted incredible acts of resistance against Xi’s tyranny.
Even in Beijing’s tightly controlled capital, huge crowds crowded the streets.
Protesters in Guangzhou lined streets with tents as they believed the regime would use its dystopian health code software to lock them out their homes.
Protesters stood up against the strange squads of hazmat-suited officers sent to clear the streets.
Beijing police used pepper spray and brutal beatings to remove demonstrators from Beijing’s financial district. However, hundreds of people returned to the exact same spot just a few hours later.
Demonstrators marched in phalanxes, holding their phones high like weapons. This signalled to the regime that it couldn’t hope to stop the flood of information reaching the outside world.
A blank sheet of paper is another popular protest accessory. This symbol of mute resistance was popularized during the Hong Kong pro democracy protests of 2019. It was created after the Beijing-controlled government made all protest slogans illegal. A placard or blank paper is used to draw attention to China’s oppressive government. It also serves as a way of frustrating the authorities, since the pages are devoid of any words or images that could justify arrest under China’s totalitarian speech code.
A protester said to Reuters that the white paper represented everything they want to say, but can’t say.
“I came to pay my respects to those who lost their lives in the fire. I hope that all these COVID measures will be eliminated. We want to lead a normal, happy life. He said, “We want dignity.”
Interviewee from Reuters said that the fire was reported in East Turkistan’s capital, Urumqi, on Thursday night. Urumqi has been held under China’s “zero Covid”, a deranged policy that imprisons people for more than 100 days. This raises suspicions about Chinese authorities who are targeting the Uyghurs in particular. China has incarcerated large numbers of Uyghurs in brutal concentration camps and used them as slave labor.
The lockdown has already resulted in the deaths of many East Turkistan residents, as well as those who died from starvation or lack of medicine. Uyghur leaders have accused the Chinese Communist Party, citing the coronavirus epidemic as an excuse for continuing its genocide against Turkic minorities. China saw unrest rise after news of children dying in lockdowns spread throughout the country.
The Urumqi apartment burning was particularly horrific. A large number of people filmed the scene and screamed for help. The coronavirus lockdown protocol kept them trapped.
Local officials attempted to deny that the exits were locked at a press conference on Friday. The surviving residents accused them of lying. The Urumqi fire chief said residents were too weak to open the doors despite some videos showing the doors being physically sealed with wires and wooden bars. This anger quickly erupted.
“We Xinjiang [East Turkistan] residents don’t dare go downstairs without permits because it will violate the law, even if the building gate has not been locked.” “We are now asking ourselves whether we should continue to follow the WeChat group’s official notice after yesterday’s accident,” an Urumqi resident told the BBC. “Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region”, is East Turkistan’s Mandarin name by the Communist Party.
Another video showed a firetruck trying to spray water on the structure, but it failed due to coronavirus lockdown barriers or vehicles abandoned by people who were forcibly quarantined. BBC reported that even Chinese state media videos had shown barricades being taken down so that fire trucks could reach the burning building.
One user said, “Sorry, but we thought the rescue team will rescue us,” on Weibo (China’s heavily-censored version) of Twitter.
Urumqi residents noticed that the fire was burning for more than three hours despite the fact that the fire station is only one kilometer away. They also accused the fire chief of lying about his claim that first responders arrived on the scene in five minutes.
Although at least ten deaths were confirmed, some officials from the area told international media that the death toll could have been higher, perhaps 40. Communist officials tried to hide the details but couldn’t stop Urumqi residents telling the world that children were among those who died.
Chinese officials admitted that at least three children died in the 10 confirmed deaths. However, Uyghurs who live abroad claim that the actual number is much higher because many apartments were occupied large families.
The weekend uprising started with hundreds of angry protestors marching through Urumqi. Most of them were ethnic Han and marched in support of their Uyghur neighbors. They knew that the regime would respond harshly to Uyghur demonstrators.
“The people of Han China know that they won’t be punished for speaking against the lockdown. Uyghurs are not like that. “If we dare to say such things, then we will be taken prisoner or to the camps,” explained an Uyghur woman to the Associated Press.
Urumqi was the first to take the cause to the rest of East Turkistan. The movement grew rapidly from there and then spread across the country, as the years of frustration over “zero Covid” lockdowns boiled to a halt. Shanghai was the most popular protest location, as it is the financial hub once considered to be a world leader. It also happens that Shanghai has a street named after Urumqi.
Even though the “Great Firewall of China” is unable to stop the information flood from angry Chinese citizens, censors have found innovative ways to silence protesters. To slow down the spread of protest images, Weibo banned phrases like “blank sheet”, and “blank papers”. Twitter is apparently dealing with a tsunami of spam from a large network of Chinese-language accounts that drowns out the news about the demonstrations.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that anyone looking for posts from these cities using Chinese names would find pages and pages of useless tweets rather than information about the courageous protests, which escalated to include calls to resign Communist Party leaders.
Although the regime did not offer any official comments on the protests and the mass calls for Xi Jinping to resign, it did announce some minor changes to its draconian zero Covid policies on Monday. These included promising that apartment buildings in quarantine would no longer be surrounded with barricades similar those used by fire trucks to reach the Urumqi burning building.
Beijing’s city official said Monday that passages must be clear for medical transport, emergency escapes, and rescues. He did not discuss the protests.
The news of the Chinese uprising caused turmoil in global markets on Monday. This led to sharp falls in the Australian dollar and the Chinese yuan, which many traders use to represent Chinese currency. Analysts were also confused by the U.S. dollar’s slide on Monday morning. They expected investors to flee turbulent Chinese scenes and seek refuge in American currency.