Hong Kong: Amid the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) scheduled for November 2022 end and mass lockdowns due to surge in COVID-19 cases, President Xi Jinping’s authority is slipping in the face of widespread public unrest.
The primary motive of the paramount leader is to cement his presidential claim for an enviable 3rd consecutive term in office, and domestic stability is crucial for the administration at this precarious time.
But trouble continues to brew in “paradise” with a record-breaking number of civilian protests occurring across China, reported The HK Post.
China has faced its deadliest wave of COVID-19 shortly before the Chinese Communist Party’s meet-up expected to be held in November, making Xi’s controversial “Zero-COVID policy” a critical point of discussion, both at home and around the globe.
Beijing has adopted a hard-line policy to combat the rising cases of the virus, which largely impinges on people’s rights, with regular testing, arbitrary lockdowns to restrict spread and mass incarcerations in quarantine centres becoming the norm.
Cities and provinces were put under extended lockdowns this year in an attempt to curb the rapid spread of the virus. Videos posted online of Shanghai residents screaming from their balconies due to the COVID lockdown revealed the truth behind Beijing’s carefully crafted lies, reported The HK Post.
Discontentment and outrage have been brewing amongst the Chinese population for months now, which has often erupted in protests and demonstrations.
This year alone saw a notable rise in the number of civilian demonstrations, more than 430, which was often followed by an authoritarian response, reported The HK Post.
Public protests are no surprise in China at the given time, with a major economic crisis looming over the head of the second-largest economy, and unemployment rates remaining high on average- 5.4 per cent in July, with rates of youth unemployment hitting 19.9 per cent.
Xi, since the 19th Party Congress in 2017, has flouted many ‘norms’ set in place for smooth working of the ruling party, and for easy succession practices of next-in-line premiers.
In 2017, Xi had made clear in his work report at the Party Congress that “Government, the military, society and schools, north, south, east and west- the party leads them all”.
As the general secretary of the CCP, Xi has pulled all strings to amass all political power in his own hands, reported The HK Post.
Furthermore, the state wastes no time in meeting the citizen’s protests with brutal and violent force to quash all opposition. With the tight control that the CCP holds over the media, Beijing is able to keep the bubbling unrest within the country under wraps.
In the face of the upcoming Party Congress, Xi has been attempting to put forward a steel front with no blemishes in the facade of his supreme leadership, reported The HK Post.
On the contrary, the number of people fleeing the country and seeking asylum elsewhere have increased at an alarming rate sine Xi took over the reins.
The impracticality of China’s response to the pandemic and the spreading virus has impacted all sections of society, with different social groups strongly voicing their critical issues.
The policy has brought on protests by students at prestigious universities, reminiscent of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
Students at the Peking University protested the inhuman terms of the lockdown while on campus, with even food services having been halted in May, while students at Tianjin also protested the local administration amidst lockdown; the Beijing Institute of Technology saw its students and staff alike staging a demonstration on campus against the oppressive COVID policy, reported The HK Post.
The state’s far-reaching control over the media and major global media-houses manages to keep these perpetually growing protests out of mainstream reporting.
However, with the changing times, people are able to get the reality of the country out to the world through the means of social media, despite the authorities’ best efforts, reported The HK Post.