Video: Protests in China following Xi’s power grab

As Xi Jinping secured an unprecedented third five-year term as the leader of the Chinese Communist Party and crushed the remaining remnants of rival factions, rare signs of rebellion have emerged in China.

The first came on October 13, three days before the 20th National Congress.

Disguised a construction worker, 48-year-old Peng Lifa, draped anti-CCP banners over Beijing’s Sitong Bridge.

The largest, translated to English, stated: Don’t want PCR tests, we want livelihoods. Don’t want lockdowns, we want freedom. Don’t want lies, we want dignity. Don’t want cultural revolution, we want reform. Don’t want supreme leader, we want ballots. No to slavery, we are citizens.

Another banner stated: Students strike, workers strike, remove Xi Jinping, the dictator and state thief.

Lifa then lit fire to tyres on the bridge and using a loudspeaker shouted the slogans on the banners.

The bridge Lifa used to stage his demonstration is above the Third Ring Road in Beijing’s Haidian District – one of China’s busiest motorways.

Photos and videos of the protest were widely circulated on Chinese social media before the entire incident was censored within five hours.

However it was ample time time for millions of Chinese social media users to discover what had taken place ahead of one of the most historic political events in China’s modern history.

It was a rare and stunning public display of discontent against the CCP, and potentially the most significant demonstration ever seen under Xi Jinping’s rein.

Peng Lifa was quickly dubbed ‘The Bridge Man’, a reference to ‘The Tank Man’ of Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Peng was arrested, his whereabouts now unknown.

Asked about the protest at a daily press briefing the following day, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said she didn’t know anything about the incident.

Inspired? China protests continue

Yesterday in Shanghai, video of another public demonstration was shared thousands of times on WeChat and Weibo before, like the Sitong Bridge protest, it disappearing within hours.

However, it too made it onto international social media platforms, where China’s Government has no control.

The video, verified by Asia Markets, shows a small group of protestors walking through Shanghai streets with the banner. On it, Chinese characters which translate in English to, “Don’t want. Want. Don’t want. Want.”

It would appear the banner is an ode to Peng Lifa’s Beijing protest, echoing his “Don’t want, we want banner”.

Watch the Shanghai protest video

The protesters appear to be singing The Internationale – a song associated with left-wing socialist movements and often sung at offical Chinese Government parades and other events.

The chorus of the song:

This is the final struggle
Let us gather together, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be the human race

Photos of the banner an the protestors involved have been published to Twitter from Shanghai, by a mysterious user under the Twitter handle @Soraky77.

China protests spark action abroad

In the past 48 hours, anti-Xi Jinping protest have taken place in major cities across the world.

A London-based Chinese student involved in coordinating protests told CNN:

“I really wanted to cry when I first saw the protest on Instagram. I felt politically depressed reading Chinese news everyday. I couldn’t see any hope. But when I saw this brave man, I realized there is still a glimmer of light,”

“I feel ashamed. If I were in Beijing now, I would never have the courage to do such a thing.”

Social unrest propelled by economic woes

Xi’s unprecedented third term secured at the Party Congress over the weekend – along with his obvious suppression of factional rivals – comes after a period in which China’s middle class has expressed dissatisfaction with Government like never before.

Earlier this year, Asia Markets tracked an increase in acts of defiance from China’s middle class following the Evergrande property crisis and runs of rural Chinese banks.

“The fact now we have property buyers refusing to pay their loans and using internet platforms like GitHub to coordinate their efforts is something I have not seen before, there is something changing,” one social media analyst told Asia Markets earlier this year.

Read the full article here: Middle class rising: How China Evergrande has propelled social unrest