China vows to crack down on ‘hostile forces’ as coronavirus-free protests test Xi – National

China’s ruling Communist Party has vowed to “resolutely crack down on intrusions and sabotage by hostile forces” after the biggest street demonstrations in decades by citizens fed up with draconian virus restrictions. .

A statement from the Central Political and Legal Commission released late Tuesday said security agencies used massive force to prevent a repeat of the weekend’s protests in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and several other cities. It was done while demonstrating.

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While not directly referring to the protests, the statement serves as a reminder of the party’s determination to enforce its regulations.

Hundreds of SUVs, vans and armored vehicles with flashing lights were parked in city streets on Wednesday as police and paramilitary forces conducted random ID checks, searched people’s cellphones for photos, banned We looked for apps that were stolen or other evidence that they may have participated in the demonstrations.

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It is not known how many people were detained during the demonstrations and subsequent police action.

The committee’s statement was issued after an expanded meeting on Monday, chaired by Chen Wenqing, a member of the Politburo, which is made up of 24 members of the party, was held on the 20th of October. Its purpose is to examine the results of the 4th Party Congress.

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At that event, President Xi gave himself a third five-year term as general secretary, potentially becoming China’s leader for life, while accumulating key institutions with supporters and dissenting voices. Eliminated.

“The meeting emphasized that political and legal institutions must take effective measures ? to resolutely defend national security and social stability,” the statement said.

“We must resolutely crack down on intrusions and sabotage by hostile forces in accordance with the law, resolutely crack down on illegal and criminal acts that disrupt social order, and effectively maintain overall social stability,” he said.

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But less than a month after appearing to secure his political future and unparalleled superiority, Mr. Xi, who has suggested that he prefers regime stability above all else, said that this We are facing the biggest public challenge ever.

He and the Communist Party have yet to directly address the unrest spreading across university campuses and the semi-autonomous southern city of Hong Kong, sparking outcry of sympathy abroad.

Most protesters focus their anger on a ‘zero COVID’ policy that has put millions under lockdown and quarantine, devastated the economy and severely restricted travel while restricting access to food and medicine. Many mocked the government’s ever-changing rationale, claiming that “outside hostilities of foreign powers” were fueling a wave of anger.

But bolder voices, calling for greater freedom and democracy, called for Mr. Xi, China’s most powerful leader in decades and the party he leads, to step down. Some even held up a blank blank slate to show there was no free speech.

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Protests over the weekend stemmed from anger over fires that killed at least 10 people in far-western China on November 24, as firefighters and victims trying to flee were forced to succumb to antivirus controls. There have been angry questions online about whether it has been blocked.

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Authorities eased some restrictions after the demonstrations and announced a new push to vaccinate vulnerable groups, but insisted they would stick to a “zero COVID” strategy.

The party had already promised last month to curb the unrest, but the surge in infections has put intense pressure on party leaders to tighten controls to prevent an outbreak. The National Health Commission on Wednesday reported his 37,612 cases detected in the past 24 hours, while his death toll remained unchanged at 5,233.

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Beijing’s Tsinghua University, where students protested over the weekend, and other schools in the capital and southern Guangdong province sent students home, apparently to defuse tensions. Chinese leaders are wary of universities that have become hotbeds of activity, including the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Police appear to be trying to keep the crackdown low profile, perhaps avoiding encouraging others by drawing attention to the scale of the protests. It has been removed by a huge online censorship agency.

“Zero COVID” has helped keep the number of cases lower than the US and other major countries, but global health experts, including the head of the World Health Organization, say this is unsustainable. China dismissed this remark as irresponsible.

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A man swabs his throat for COVID-19 testing at a testing station near last weekend’s protests in Beijing on Wednesday, November 30, 2022.

AP Photo/Andy Wong

The secretary-general of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in an interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday that Beijing needs to make its approach “very targeted” to reduce economic disruption.

But economists and health experts warn Beijing cannot ease restrictions that keep most travelers out of China until tens of millions of the elderly are vaccinated. It says that “zero COVID” means it could last another year.

On Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns said restrictions, among other things, made it impossible for U.S. diplomats to visit U.S. prisoners of war held in China as required by international treaties. said there is. Due to the lack of commercial airline routes into the country, the embassy has to use monthly charter flights to get its staff in and out.

“COVID has really taken over every aspect of life in China,” he said in an online discussion with the Chicago Council on International Affairs.

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Speaking about the protests, Burns said the embassy was monitoring their progress and the government’s response, but said, “I believe the Chinese people have the right to protest peacefully.”

“They have the right to make their opinions known. They have the right to be heard. It is a fundamental right in the world. It should be. And that right should not be interfered with, it should be interfered with.” You shouldn’t,” he said.

Barnes also cited instances in which Chinese police harassed and detained foreign journalists covering protests.

“We support not only free speech, but also free press,” he said.

Asked about foreign expressions of support for the protesters, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian defended China’s approach to dealing with COVID-19 and said other countries should care about themselves. .

“Rather than blaming others, please listen to the voices and concerns of your own people first,” Mr. Zhao told reporters at a regular briefing.

China vows to crack down on ‘hostile forces’ as coronavirus-free protests test Xi – National

Source link China vows to crack down on ‘hostile forces’ as coronavirus-free protests test Xi – National

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