Protest

People hold white sheets of paper in protest over coronavirus disease (Covid-19) restrictions, after a vigil for the victims of a fire in Urumqi, as outbreaks of COVID-19 continue, in Beijing, China, 28 November 2022. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

All in the plans: Social protests have little chance of weakening Xi Jinping’s leadership

While some analysts have spoken of the “white paper protests” against Covid restrictions in China as a turning point in citizen movements aggregating change, Taiwanese academic Wen-Hsuan Tsai says that the CCP had made its own calculations regarding easing China's Covid policy. Moreover, with its high-tech methods of monitoring protesters, the events of last November were well within its sights to deal with.
People gather as they hold candles and white sheets of paper to support protests in China regarding Covid-19 restrictions at National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan, 30 November 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Why did the Taiwanese support China's A4 revolution?

Taiwanese academic Ho Ming-sho asserts that Taiwan’s show of solidarity with protestors in China’s A4 revolution is better understood under the lens of the history of the island’s pursuit of its own identity. He explains why Taiwan’s civil-society actors chose to react to the protests on universal values, rather than national sentiment.
A security personnel keeps watch next to a Chinese Communist Party flag before the new Politburo Standing Committee members meet the media following the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 23 October 2022. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Can the CCP truly serve the people?

Recent protests against the Covid restrictions show that the CCP’s mantra of “serving the people” is a double-edged sword. The platitude lends ideological ammunition and justification for people to retaliate, and may also give far leftists fodder for accusing the party of abandoning their original mission. Rather than a nameless “the people” which can be manipulated politically, perhaps it is time to think of the people as each and every person whose rights need to be safeguarded.
People release balloons as they gather to celebrate New Year's Eve, amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, 1 January 2023. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Unease amid celebration: New year, old Covid worries in China

With the easing of Covid measures in China, many cities saw the return of New Year countdown celebrations, with major crowds congregating in droves. While the mood is upbeat, worries remain. Lianhe Zaobao’s China Desk looks at the people’s hopes for 2023.
People hold white sheets of paper in protest over Covid-19 restrictions, after a vigil for the victims of a fire in Urumqi, as outbreaks of Covid-19 continue, in Beijing, China, 27 November 2022. (Thomas Peter/File Photo/Reuters)

China's elderly rulers must get used to the young criticising them

East Asian Institute senior research fellow Lance Gore observes that the recent protests in China have highlighted the deep generational gap between the leaders of the country and the protesters. In tandem with the modernisation of society, there needs to be the modernisation of politics, allowing greater room for political participation and dialogue.
A couple sits in a promenade along the Huangpu River under Lupu Bridge in Shanghai, China, on 9 November 2022. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

China’s marriage, divorce and birth rates are falling

The prolonged implementation of Covid-19 control measures has caused a significant socioeconomic impact in China, notably leading to the decline in marriage, divorce and birth rates, as well as the increase in youth unemployment. While the situation is more complex than what the data show, Chinese observers believe that both external and internal factors are at play.
This UGC image posted on Twitter reportedly on 26 October 2022 shows an unveiled woman standing on top of a vehicle as thousands make their way towards Aichi cemetery in Saqez, Mahsa Amini's home town in the western Iranian province of Kurdistan, to mark 40 days since her death, defying heightened security measures as part of a bloody crackdown on women-led protests. (UGC/AFP)

What China can learn from the Iran protests

The protests in Iran following the death of 22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini seem to have put the authorities on the back foot, worsened by the missteps in its responses. The current protests in China have also clearly taken the Chinese government by surprise. Academic Fan Hongda notes that the Chinese authorities can take the example of Iran to see what moves to avoid.
This photo taken on 30 November 2022 shows people inside a subway train in Haizhu district, Guangzhou city, in China's Guangdong province, following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in the city. (CNS/AFP)

China is finally easing Covid rules, but not all are happy

The Chinese central government has not mentioned the “dynamic zero-Covid” policy as of late, sparking hopes that it will further ease Covid-19 control measures. With public anger boiling over in the form of protests in several cities, more signs of easing are needed. The path to reopening will not be smooth, but Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong notes that any form of progress towards normalcy would be reassuring for the Chinese people.
A health worker takes a swab sample from a woman at a residential area under lockdown due to Covid-19 coronavirus restrictions in Beijing on 25 November 2022. (Noel Celis/AFP)

This has to be the end of lockdowns in China

While the rest of the world has moved on from strict Covid measures, China is continuing its dynamic zero-Covid policy and local governments are sticking to what they know best — lockdowns. But this mode of control is looking increasingly untenable on the back of increasing protests. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan looks at how the CCP can respond.