The Chinese Dream, Denied

the chinese dream denied

The narrow alleyways of Haizhu district have long beckoned to China’s strivers, people like Xie Pan, a textile worker from a mountainous tea-growing area in central China. Home to one of the country’s biggest fabric markets, Haizhu houses worker dormitories and textile factories in brightly colored buildings stacked so close that neighbors can shake hands out their windows. Once a smattering of rural villages, the area became a manufacturing hub as China opened its economy decades ago. The government had promised to step back and let people unleash their ambitions,…

After Fanning Covid Fears, China Must Now Try to Allay Them

after fanning covid fears china must now try to allay them

For nearly three years, the Chinese government deployed its considerable propaganda apparatus to fan fears about Covid to justify large-scale quarantines, frequent mass testing and the tracking of more than a billion people. As the authorities now shift their approach to the pandemic, they face the task of downplaying those fears. Until the past week, during which there were rallies voicing extraordinary public opposition to the stringent “zero Covid” rules, government officials and state media were still emphasizing the most ominous medical news about the pandemic. There were countless stories…

China Appears to Loosen Covid Rules After Protests

china appears to loosen covid rules after protests

In the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, residents returned to work on Thursday for the first time in weeks after Covid-19 lockdowns were lifted. In Chongqing, in the southwest, some residents were no longer required to take regular Covid tests. And in Beijing, a senior health official played down the severity of current Omicron variants, a rare move for the government. The developments suggest that the ruling Communist Party may be starting to back down on unpopular Covid restrictions in response to a wave of mass protests that have been…

After Xi’s Coronation, a Roar of Discontent Against His Hard-Line Politics

after xis coronation a roar of discontent against his hard line politics

Striding out to speak to the Chinese nation just under six weeks ago, Xi Jinping, exuded regal dominance. He had just won what was likely to be another decade in power. His new team of subordinates stood out as unbending loyalists. A Communist Party congress had cemented his authoritarian agenda and promised a “new era” when China’s 1.4 billion people would stay in ever-loyal step with him and the party. But a nationwide surge of protest has sent a stunning sign that even after one decade under Mr. Xi’s rule,…

Xi Jinping Faces Another Dilemma: How to Mourn Jiang Zemin

xi jinping faces another dilemma how to mourn jiang zemin

The deaths of Chinese Communist leaders are always fraught moments of political theater, and especially so now with the passing of Jiang Zemin soon after a wave of public defiance on a scale unseen since Mr. Jiang came to power in 1989. China’s sternly autocratic current leader, Xi Jinping, must preside over the mourning for Mr. Jiang, who died on Wednesday at 96, while he also grapples with widespread protests against China’s exceptionally stringent Covid-19 restrictions. The demonstrations have at times also boldly called for China to return to the…

Jiang Zemin, China’s Leader After Tiananmen Square Protests, Dies at 96

jiang zemin chinas leader after tiananmen square protests dies at 96

The feral capitalism that Mr. Jiang and Mr. Zhu fostered created a wide rich-poor divide even as it lifted vast numbers from poverty, and it nurtured a culture of official corruption and cronyism. “In some ways, that was the start of this live-and-let-live attitude toward corruption that Xi Jinping now finds himself attacking,” said Joseph Fewsmith, a professor at Boston University who studies Chinese leadership politics. Wielding Influence By the time Mr. Jiang retired from the party leadership in 2002 and from the presidency in 2003, his influence and self-regard…

Migrant Workers Fuel Protests Over China’s ‘Zero Covid’ Restrictions

migrant workers fuel protests over chinas zero covid restrictions

The Haizhu District of Guangzhou, where the clashes took place, is a center of garment production, and tens of thousands of migrant workers from rural China make a living in small factories, shops and diners that cram its streets. But there and across much of China, Covid restrictions on work and travel have added to a wider economic slowdown and pushed many small businesses into closure or bankruptcy, leaving migrant workers struggling to make a living. “People don’t have anywhere to vent their frustration,” said a local resident surnamed Hu,…

The Long Odds Facing China’s Protesters

the long odds facing chinas protesters

Still, without some of China’s elite breaking with Mr. Xi to support the protesters, William Hurst, a Northwestern University scholar, wrote on Twitter, “the most likely scenario I can see is that the protests fizzle out (as most such movements do in most countries).” Understand the Protests in China “Having erupted spontaneously in a short period,” predicted Mr. Hurst, who studies Chinese social movements, “they will fade away without reaching any climax or denouement.” Protests’ Waning Power Throughout most of the 20th century, mass protests seeking a change in government…

Proud, Scared and Conflicted. What the China Protesters Told Me.

proud scared and conflicted what the china protesters told me

They went to their first demonstrations. They chanted their first protest slogans. They had their first encounters with the police. Then they went home, shivering in disbelief at how they had challenged the most powerful authoritarian government in the world and the most iron-fisted leader China has seen in decades. Young Chinese are protesting the country’s harsh “zero-Covid” policy and even urging its top leader, Xi Jinping, to step down. It’s something China hasn’t seen since 1989, when the ruling Communist Party brutally cracked down on the pro-democracy demonstrators, mostly…

China Regroups to Snuff Out a Wave of Covid Protests

china regroups to snuff out a wave of covid protests

After China experienced its boldest and most widespread protests in decades, defying Xi Jinping, a Communist Party leader who prizes his reputation for ironclad authority, his security apparatus is scrambling to reassert control. Public security personnel and vehicles have blanketed potential protest sites. Police officers are searching some residents’ phones for prohibited apps. Officials are going to the homes of would-be protesters to warn them against illegal activities and are taking some away for questioning. Censors are scrubbing protest symbols and slogans from social media. On Monday, the demonstrations were…