Anger has spread in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, where protesters blame China’s strict “zero COVID” policy for a deadly blaze that ripped through a residential building, killing 10 people and injuring nine.
The residents claim that the pandemic restrictions hampered rescue attempts and prevented people escaping from their apartments. Throngs of residents in Urumqi have taken to the streets, triggering a wave of protests across China.
Students and residents rallied in Shanghai and Beijing, chanting “Down with [Chinese President] Xi Jinping (習近平),” “Chinese Communist Party (CCP) step down” and “We want freedom and democracy.”
This marks one of the rare occasions where protesters have dared to openly call for Xi’s removal.
Those who have been keeping close tabs on the development of China’s political scene are watching warily how things are unfolding. Even though China is viewing Taiwan as a wolf views its prey, the wolf’s cold aggression pales in comparison to the CCP’s ruthlessness.
Chinese and Taiwanese students who have studied abroad should encourage other Chinese and Taiwanese students studying overseas to rise and join the “white paper” protests through other means, as college students can play an essential role in a critical moment like this.
If the activists can gain a voice and become powerful over the next few weeks, they could inspire other college students and people from other countries to support their cause, which would bring them closer to toppling Xi’s duplicitous regime.
The CCP has relied on trying to brainwash the proletariat for the past 73 years, but it is now unmasked by a harsh reality.
Smart people have questioned why they are still living under strict lockdowns while the rest of the world is free to watch the FIFA World Cup in Qatar without wearing masks.
Professors, political rivals, military personnel and party members who have been oppressed and exploited by Xi also have an essential role to play in this peaceful revolution.
“Reunification” and “taking Taiwan by force” are only excuses and pretexts for the CCP to extend the regime’s rule.
As a fellow Chinese-speaking country, Taiwan has held democratic elections for decades and direct presidential elections seven times.
There has been no upheaval or rioting whenever a transition of power occurs. While democracy ensures a peaceful transition of power, it does not guarantee the efficiency or quality of leadership.
Compared with authoritarian nations, countries plagued by coups or places where wars are fought to secure regimes, the value of democracy far exceeds the atrocities of bloodshed under authoritarianism.
With the broadcast of Qatar’s World Cup, Chinese college students realized that the “zero COVID” policy was nothing more than a measure for Xi to consolidate his power, and that people’s lives are worthless in his eyes.
As college students have awakened to the CCP’s tyrannical nature, the wider public can too. As Taiwan acts as a beacon of light for China’s democratization, Taiwanese should rise and cheer for the Chinese college students.
If these protests could blossom into a large-scale protest like the “Jasmine Revolution” in Tunisia, the “white paper” protests or “peaceful revolution” in China could force Xi to step down and put an end to the CCP’s rule. China would finally be able to turn a new leaf and start a new chapter. I wish the Chinese college students the best of luck.
Chuang Sheng-rong is a lawyer.
Translated by Rita Wang
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