Chinese activists worldwide are expanding their support networks and forging closer relationships with other pro-democracy demonstrators thanks to the renewed political passion that led Chinese citizens to take to the streets in protest of Beijing’s zero-COVID policy, organizers located abroad told Axios.
The big picture: Although though police put an end to the protests within days, the COVID protests in China in November succeeded in ending widespread lockdowns, quarantines, and daily testing.
The end of zero-COVID shown that protests can have an impact on Beijing’s policymaking, even though it stemmed the momentum of Chinese protestors abroad who are demanding democracy in China and the resignation of President Xi Jinping.
The COVID-19 pandemic hastened the political awakening of Chinese people, which has occurred during the past three years, according to Miho.
Background: Protesters demanding an end to zero-COVID policies caused the largest political demonstrations in China in decades late last year in dozens of locations.
International organizers swiftly followed suit, with some solidarity marches explicitly demanding for Xi’s resignation. On November 29, roughly 1,000 people gathered close to the Chinese Consulate in New York City for one of the biggest protests. Like the demonstrators in China, many of them brandished blank pieces of paper.
Eight foreign organizers from the United States and Canada, including one who oversaw the New York event, were interviewed by Axios. For fear of reprisals from the Chinese government against them and their families, the majority of them requested that only their English names be used.
What they’re saying: “I think it’s a short-term victory for the Chinese people, but it’s not enough,” said Wang Han, a 25-year-old student at the University of Southern California who went on a hunger strike outside of Apple’s headquarters last month to protest the company’s human rights records in China.
“If you don’t have the right to choose your own destiny, if you do not have the freedom to express disagreement with your government, then another tragedy will happen in the future,” he added.
Yes, but: “[F]or a lot of people, their basic interest has been fulfilled by the relieving of the zero-COVID policy,” a Chinese activist based in California told Axios, noting this has decreased the momentum among Chinese people abroad who were most incensed by the travel barriers, quarantines and economic damage caused by zero-COVID policies.