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Why are Chinese protesters holding up blank pieces of paper?

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Anti-lockdown protests continue in China, as the nation records its highest day of coronavirus cases

Blank sheets of paper speak a thousand words in China, as protesters seek to evade censorship or arrest.

Hundreds have gathered at top universities across the country in defiance of Beijing’s Covid-zero strategy.

Infections continue to hit record highs, with nearly 40,000 new reported cases on Sunday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping maintains a policy of controlling the spread of the coronavirus through strict lockdown measures.

According to Chinese officials, the idea is to keep cases to their lowest possible in the shortest period of time.

Beijing believes the strategy has led to one of the “most successful” Covid-19 responses in the world.

However, Human Rights Watch has described the measures as “draconian”.

The advocacy group believes the measures have “significantly impeded” people’s access to health care, food, and other necessities.

Why are the protests happening now?

The latest round of protests follow an apartment fire in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region, which left 10 people dead on Thursday.

Hana Young is the Deputy Regional Director at Amnesty International, who said the fire has inspired remarkable bravery.

“It is virtually impossible for people in China to protest peacefully without facing harassment and prosecution.”

“Peaceful protesters are holding blank pieces of paper, chanting slogans, and engaging in many forms of creative dissent.”

HANA YOUNG, AMNESTY INTERNATIOnAL

People in the region had been locked down for over 100 days. However, there are concerns some residents have been locked into their apartments completely.

How common are protests in China?

Blank sheets of paper have become the norm for Chinese protesters.

According to some chat groups on the Weibo platform, protesters were encouraged to bring blank pieces of paper rather than writing slogans or words, which may be banned in China.

The tactic has been previously used in Moscow as Russian protesters gathered to oppose the war in Ukraine.

Protests are rare in China, as President Xi seeks stamp out any anti-government sentiments.

The Chinese government has tried to manage the flow of information around Covid-19.

President Xi Jinping is at the centre of many protests in China.

Human Rights Watch describes the response as a way of “censor[ing] criticism” of the government’s response.

Sun Jian is a graduate student who was expelled from Ludong University for opposing lockdowns on campus.

“The trouble brought by the virus can’t be compared with the disruption from some of the anti-COVID measures taken by our school,” Sun told Reuters.

International human rights law notes any public health restrictions should be evidence-based and proportional. China has signed but not ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“The Chinese government must immediately review its Covid-19 policies to ensure that they are proportionate and time-bound,” said Ms Young at Amnesty International.

“All quarantine measures that pose threats to personal safety and unnecessarily restrict freedom of movement must be suspended.”

HANA YOUNG, AMNESTY INTERNATIOnAL

Protesters commemorated victims of the Urumqi fire and continue to call for the easing for coronavirus restrictions.

Dozens have been also detained and arrested on Urumqi Road in Shanghai after calling for President Xi to step down.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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Business

New York Stock Exchange in free fall

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Human error sends the New York Stock Exchange tumbling

We’ve all made mistakes at the office from time to time, but spare a thought for one worker who may have single-handedly brought down the New York Stock Exchange with just one tiny error.

The mistake of one employee has wiped billions of dollars off the charts for some of the globe’s largest companies.

The individual reportedly triggered wild swings and volatility on the New York Stock Exchange.

A number of big brand names were caught up in the catastrophe. It included McDonald’s, Walmart, and Mobil.

The NYSE eventually came clean. Officials admitted the“root cause” of the screw-up was a “manual error” from a staff member in the backup data centre.

The employee accidentally left the system running.

That’s why some stocks behaved as if trading had already started, with no opening prices being set, sending the market into a meltdown. #trending #featured

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Sport

Bombshell pro-Russian video emerges from Australian Open

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A bombshell video has emerged of the father of tennis star Novak Djokovic, amplifying the Russian controversy the Australian Open

 
Djokovic’s father was seen posing for pictures with a group of Putin supporters after his son won against Russia’s Andrey Rublev, to qualify for his 10th semi-final.

Russian flags have been banned from the Australian Open, but that didn’t stop one fan.

A man was seen holding a Russian flag with Putin’s face on it and wearing a t-shirt with the pro-war ‘Z’ symbol on it.

Four spectators were questioned by police and evicted from Melbourne Park.

After losing her semi-final, Belarusian Viktoria Azarenka hit back at media when pressed on tennis’ relationship with Russia’s war on Ukraine.

She told reporters incidents like Novak’s father posing with Russian fans have nothing to do with players.

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World

FBI Director discusses classified documents as U.S. lawmakers demand answers

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Bipartisan outrage on Capitol Hill as politicians say the Biden administration is stonewalling their quest for answers

FBI Director Christopher Wray is speaking out for the first time after several batches of classified documents were discovered in U.S. President Joe Biden’s Wilmington home and Washington think tank office.

On Thursday, Wray urged lawmakers and officials to be “conscious of the rules” when dealing with classified documents.

The statements appear to be a veiled criticism of President Biden after news broke that some of the classified papers in the President’s possession date back 14-years ago to when Biden was a Delaware Senator raising questions if this is a pattern for the president to mishandle classified information.

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, there is bipartisan outrage as lawmakers say the Biden administration is stonewalling them in their quest for answers.

Currently, both Biden and former President Donald Trump are facing special counsel investigations into their mishandling of classified documents—and just this week, former Vice President Mike Pence turned over classified documents to the DOJ.

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