Although most attention regarding China these days is focused on the current political drama taking place in Hong Kong, there’s reason to believe that mainland China is going through its own form of unrest.
The Guardian reported that riot police fired teargas and beat residents in the Southern Chinese province of Guangdong on Friday, November 29, 2019 after protesting against a local construction project.
Hundreds of Chinese citizens in Wenlou, a town in the Guangdong province located about 60 miles from Hong Kong, demonstrated against plans for a large crematorium in an area officials previously stated would only become an “ecological park”.
The town (文楼镇) protesting in Guangdong looks like this. It's tiny. There couldn't be more than 10k people there. Yet they're tipping over police cars, fighting police with fireworks & forcing armoured vehicles to retreat.
— Nathan Ruser (@Nrg8000) November 29, 2019
Residents recorded footage of riot police firing teargas, hurling rocks, and beating protestors. Videos showed people throwing firecrackers at the police and tipping over a car. One person was caught holding a sign that read “The people of Wenlou do not agree”.
One resident, who asked not be named, observed, “The whole town is protesting. The government has violently deployed people to suppress it. Now police are like crazy dogs, beating whoever they see. Where is the law? Where is morality?”
These kinds of protests against infrastructure projects such as incinerators, chemical plants or crematoriums are not rare in rural China. However, Wenlou demonstrations come during a time when authorities are worried about protests potentially spreading from neighboring Hong Kong to the rest of the Chinese mainland.
Although a significant portion of the mainland Chinese population opposes the Hong Kong protests, Guangdong is an area that is susceptible to unrest given its proximity to the Guangdong province and given how a lot of people in that province have close ties to Hong Kong.
Wenlou residents share similar grievances with Hong Kong demonstrators, which include anger over perceived police brutality and a growing sense of distrust with their political leadership.
Another resident from Wenlou said “If not pushed to a dead end, who would choose to hit their heads against a rock.”
She claimed that police barricaded all the roads and she wasn’t able to share videos of the incident.
The mask is now off in China.
Recent events in Hong Kong and the Guangdong province show that there is growing discontent with the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership.
The question now is if China will revert back to its Maoist authoritarian days.
Under President Xi Jinping, China has taken a sharp authoritarian turn that has many in the West worried about its geopolitical intentions.
Because it is a nuclear power, the U.S. will have to use tough diplomacy and intelligently channel soft power to contain China’s influence worldwide.
The town (文楼镇) protesting in Guangdong looks like this. It’s tiny. There couldn’t be more than 10k people there. Yet they’re tipping over police cars, fighting police with fireworks & forcing armoured vehicles to retreat. No wonder the CCP is afraid of large-scale protests.
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