China experienced monumental upheaval at the end of 2022. For three years, Chinese President Xi Jinping waged what he termed a “people’s war against COVID-19”, an uncompromising campaign to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections that became both a nationalistic rallying cry and a symbol of Chinese pride. In that time, his government subjected citizens to intense digital surveillance, frequent harsh lockdowns, and the constant threat of being consigned to quarantine facilities in the event of a positive test. These measures did have the effect of preventing outbreaks in China of the scale that occurred in other countries, such as neighboring India or the United States.… Seguir leyendo »
The centralisation of political power in China allows the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to tightly control society. In the past week demonstrations over President Xi Jinping’s “zero-covid” policy in cities across the country, involving people from a variety of backgrounds, came as a surprise. That is probably because citizens rarely protest against government measures in this way; simultaneous national resistance to them is less common even than in other autocratic states, such as Russia. The party learned tough lessons in Tiananmen Square in 1989. It has since meticulously designed a system that can pre-empt major protests before they occur.
One part of the system relies on technology.… Seguir leyendo »
The protests against an extradition law that have been ongoing for seven consecutive weeks in Hong Kong took a violent turn last weekend. A large group of masked men carrying wooden sticks and iron rods began attacking protesters, journalists and passengers indiscriminately at a railway station Sunday night, leaving scores injured.
Who were these 100 or so men in white T-shirts? Thus far, there’s little firm evidence to say exactly who was responsible for the attack. The police made several arrests Monday night, and various news reports have named local triads — Hong Kong’s organized crime gangs.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam publicly denounced the violence.… Seguir leyendo »