We want to eat, not get tested for coronavirus; Reform, not the Cultural Revolution. We want freedom, not closure. Elections, not rulers. We want dignity, not lies. Be citizens, not enslaved,” read the red handwritten letters on large white banners hanging from the Sitong Bridge in the city’s northwest Haidian District on Thursday around midday local time, according to photos and videos of the banners widely shared online.
A second banner read: “Remove the dictator and national traitor Xi Jinping.” Nearby pedestrians stopped to read signs and stare at a column of black smoke from a fire lit on the bridge by the person who appeared to be wearing a yellow hard hat and orange jacket of a construction worker, according to videos of the accident. .
Some photos appeared to show the police taking the person, although there was no official confirmation of his arrest by Friday. Haidian District Public Security Bureau closed when contacted by The Washington Post.
The Chinese Communist Party, which does not tolerate criticism of top leaders at the best of times, is currently on high alert as the country’s 2,300 top politicians arrive in the capital for a congress held every five years. For Xi, the country’s most powerful leader in decades, the meeting is expected to be a moment of triumph as he upsets the previous congress to remain as party leader for more than two terms.
On Chinese social media, observers clashed with users who tried to share information about the protest, significantly limiting the number of visible posts. Search results for generic terms such as “Beijing”, “Haidian” or “Sitong” returned far fewer entries than usual and only from officially verified accounts.
Some users have attempted to circumvent the restrictions by indirectly referring to the incident – a common practice to evade censorship. Some published a song called “The Brave” or talked about “One Spark” in reference to a famous revolutionary essay by Mao Zedong called “One Spark Can Kindle the Fire of the Prairie”.
Chinese dissidents and human rights activists abroad have praised this defiant act, many of them likening the protester to “tank man“The Unknown Man Who Confronted Chinese Soldiers on Chang’an Street on June 5, 1989. China’s High-Tech Authoritarianism Means Activists Can Only Work in ‘Lone Warrior’ Mode,” Teng Biao, a Chinese human rights advocate now living in the United States , wrote on Twitter.
Xi’s focus on national security and “social stability” has severely limited the space for dissent in China. The latest generation Human rights and democracy activists in China have found it increasingly difficult to meet or share ideas privately, let alone to organize a serious revolt against Communist Party rule.
Security in the capital tends to be at its highest during major political events such as the upcoming Congress. Dissidents living in Beijing are often escorted by escorts to remote parts of the country and checks are increased for people entering the city. This year, China continued Strict Corona Virus Controls They added a layer of travel restrictions and monitoring.
By Friday, police had been positioned near prominent bridges across the city, according to photos posted online by residents.