The October 13 incident on Sitong Bridge in Haidian District, Beijing, where banners protesting against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) appeared, spread to Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xiang, and the world.
Slogans against the “Zero-COVID policy” or the “common prosperity” initiative pointed directly at the CCP and its Politburo, where the power of the red caste that plagues China is concentrated.
Citizens speak of the return of the “cultural revolution” or the “great leap forward” amid a new hegemony of the state enterprise over private industry, which causes the economy to slow down and allows experts to comment that China will not catch up with the United States.
This echo spreading to overseas Chinese has prompted some scholars to say that “China still has hope for freedom.”
Bai Xia, a French sinologist, said about the Sitong Bridge demonstrations in Beijing: “They show that there is still hope for China, even though a wave of protests is impossible, and so citizens can only stand up and fight to the death.”
Reports from the French Broadcasting Corporation showed that overseas Chinese have organized demonstrations against the CCP in the wake of the closing of the 20th Party Congress and spread Sitong Bridge slogans on university campuses.
Shanghai joins the protests against the CCP
During the closing of the 20th National Congress of the CCP, two women walked along Xiangyang North Road, a crowded avenue in Shanghai, carrying white banners that read: “We do not want the Communist Party.”
Before these events, on October 13, in Beijing’s Haidian district, slogans against Mao Tse Tung’s “cultural revolution” and in favor of democratic reforms appeared on Sitong Bridge.
“Don’t be a slave, just a citizen” were some popular demands that harmonized with the call for strikes, pro-democracy rallies, and the fall of the CCP.
One name resonated among the pro-democracy citizens, Peng Lifa, whose pseudonym was Peng Zaizhou. He called for strikes among the students and raised the slogan of a military uprising. Because of this, he was arrested and is currently missing.
On social networks monitored by the government, citizens feared for the two women in Shanghai and exclaimed: “They will catch them, it is too dangerous,” referring to the climate of repression in that city. Some said they were saddened by “the cowardice of the Chinese.”
However, the most frequent comment on the internet was: “They caught Peng Zaizhou, but there are thousands like Peng Zaizhou.”
China isolates itself from Europe after the rise of Xi Jinping
Safeguard Defenders, a Spanish human rights group, filed a complaint with the French television regulator over attacks against it by the China Global Television Network (CGTN).
This broadcaster also attacked CNN for its report on the re-education camps in Xinjiang, which delved into the lives of children separated from their families after the crackdown on the Uyghur minority.
A similar situation caused CGNT to lose its license in the UK on February 4, 2022, when the British regulator, Ofcom, withdrew its license from the Chinese broadcaster for harassment of British citizens.
Similarly, Safeguard Defenders claims that the French TV regulator could withdraw CGNT’s license for attacks on German researcher Adrian Zenz. The latter was called the “million man” for his investigation into the fate of one million Uyghurs detained in Xinjiang.
The Sitong Bridge man provoked protests against the CCP worldwide
According to the BBC, a man wearing a construction shirt and helmet shouted slogans over loudspeakers and set tires on fire on Sitong Bridge in Beijing’s Haidian district.
“We want food, not an anti covid test; we want freedom, not enclosures, we want reforms, not a cultural revolution, we want a vote, not a leader, we want to be citizens, not slaves,” read one of the banners, according to The Guardian.
In short, the Sitong Bridge protest directly targeted Xi Jinping for his Zero-COVID policy and the decline of reforms after the “common prosperity” initiative, which prioritizes state-owned enterprises over the market.