Xi Jinping: Protest against Xi Jinping and Covid-zero policy in China: Why it’s significant | World News – Times of India
Social media posts showed banners calling for an end to the hard-line “Covid Zero” policy and the overthrow of Communist Party leader and President Xi Jinping.
However, China’s internet censors moved quickly to scrub social media posts on protest banners in Beijing. It was not clear who might have hung the banners or when they were placed. Dozens of police milled about the area, entering stores. At times, they stopped pedestrians and questioned them. Associated Press journalists were questioned three times and asked to produce identification. Police denied anything unusual had happened in the area.
Political protests are very rare in China. Hence, the banner protest, however symbolic it may be, holds much importance. More than the protest, it’s timing which makes it more significant.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is set take the stage on Sunday to kick off a historic congress of the ruling Communist Party, where he is poised to win a third term that solidifies his place as China’s most powerful ruler since Mao Zedong.
In a rare act of disobedience, homebuyers in at least over 100 cities have stopped mortgage payments as developers halted work on building projects to fund crunch and strict Covid Zero rules. The mortgage boycott has added to worries about a prolonged slowdown in China’s real estate market. About loans worth over 40 billion are at stake due to threats of mortgage boycott.
President for life?
The congress comes at a tumultuous time, with Xi’s adherence to his “Covid Zero” policy battering the economy, while his support for Russia’s Vladimir Putin has further alienated China from the West. Still, diplomats, economists and analysts say Xi is set to consolidate his grip on power and may go on to rule China as long as he wants.
The roughly week-long congress will take place with around 2,300 delegates, mostly behind closed doors, in the vast Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square. The Chinese capital has ramped up security and intensified Covid screening. In nearby Hebei province, steel mills were instructed to cut back on operations to improve air quality, an industry source said.
(With inputs from agencies)