China: Coming Uprising or Course Correction at 20th Party Congress?
The news from China are quite interesting. 3 weeks ago, ARD reported looting and riots against the CCP’s Covid lockdown in some cities,because the lockdown is also bringing down the entire Chinese economy along with the Ukraine war due to the restriction of supply chains. Then the first critical comments from leading CP members appear, which one did not think possible against the Xi censorship, i.e. criticism within the CP China, although it no longer has a politburo of a collective leadership . Now a report in the FAZ about alleged student protests in China in university cities, which you won’t find anywhere else in other media and whose dimensions are not clear – flash in the pan or spark:
“Now the students are protesting in China
By Friederike Böge, Hong Kong -Updated on 05/30/2022-08:00
Young Chinese are considered confromaist. This is due to the „patriotic education“ in the schools. It is therefore remarkable what is currently happening at the universities. In chants they chant „Down with formalism, down with bureaucracy“. Another slogan refers to a popular uprising against the Chinese Qin dynasty in the third century BC: „The kingdom of the Chu will arise, Chen Sheng will be the king.“ Hundreds of students have gathered at several Chinese universities in the past few days to protest loudly against the corona policy. They demanded to speak to the university administration to state their demands. This was the case at Tianjin University, for example, whose students have not been allowed to leave their campus since January. And at Peking University, where a dormitory should be fenced off at night. By Chinese standards, the demonstrations are remarkable. The generation of today’s students is considered to be particularly conformist, shaped by the „patriotic education“ in the schools“
In any case, the alleged slogans of „The kingdom of Chu will aries, for Chen Shuang“ are historically and politically very far-reaching, as it is a slogan to topple Qin and thereby Xi, if one wants to believe Ms Böge’s report and does not want to see this just as Hong Kong opposition wishful thinking. Sinology professor Van Ess, who was described by the SZ as an sympathizer of Xi and China, thinks:
„There seems to be something going on there. After all, Chen Sheng was the first to start the uprising against the autocratic Qin Emperor and then quickly left to make way for Liu Bang, the founder of the Han Dynasty. Interestingly, during the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong was compared to the first emperor (thinking positively of the left at the time). That could now be transferrable to Xi Jinping (now negative). I keep hearing that there is unrest at the universities. Xi is likely to face a hot summer. I just found out that China has canceled the 2023 Asian Games. Apparently some want the theater to go on like this for a while longer.”
The invocation of Qin was as early as the Cultural Revolution, when Mao was positively portrayed with the brutal Emperor Qinshihuang as the unifier of China, while Zhou Enlai as a Confucian should face the fate to be buried alive and burned. Now, however, the Qin comparison is probably based on Xi and in a negative sense. The question is to what extent this was not an isolated slogan or the minimum consensus of these still small protests. In any case, they are remarkable, even if Xi-China will respond promptly and may behead their „trouble makers“ right away. So let’s wait and see for the 20th party congress of the CPC in the fall, although Xi probably won´t be toppled there, but at least there could be a course correction. But as said: It remains to be seen.