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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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Leaders

Health experts are walking the nutritional path to a stronger immune system

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Proper nutrition plays a crucial role in maintaining a robust immune system and mitigating chronic inflammation.

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or infection, but when it becomes chronic, it can lead to serious health issues.

Kate Save from BeFitFood joins to discuss the relationship between #featured

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Money

Nvidia surpasses Microsoft as the most valuable company in the world

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Nvidia has emerged as the world’s most valuable company, surpassing Microsoft with a market value of over $3.3 trillion.

This shift comes on the heels of Nvidia’s consistent growth in the semiconductor sector and its strategic advancements in artificial intelligence and gaming technologies.

This milestone marks a significant validation of Nvidia’s aggressive expansion and innovation strategies under CEO Jensen Huang, who has steered the company towards dominance in high-performance computing.

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Nintendo’s latest presentation showcased exciting revivals and fresh new titles for Q4

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Nintendo’s exciting 2024 lineup revealed following June Direct: revivals, new titles, and fresh takes.

From enhanced classics like Donkey Kong Country Returns HD to highly anticipated new entries such as Metroid Prime 4, Nintendo’s 2024 releases promise something for every gamer.

Emily Leaney from TeamRetro joins to unpack all the big announcements.

Follow the link here for the full presentation on Nintendo’s official YouTube channel.

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