The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) lives by a single doctrine: total control. For 73 years, they have made censorship, surveillance, and power over the people they govern a priority.
The Communist Party in China emerged when Mao Zedong triumphed in the Chinese Civil War, and they have been the ruling party of the People's Republic of China (PRC) since 1949. Today, the party consists of over 96 million members, making it the second-largest political party in the world.
The CCP’s greed for power intensified in 2012 when President Xi Jinping took command, and it is perhaps most evident in the CCP’s grip on social media. If you scroll through WeChat or browse the internet in China, and you will be hard-pressed to find public opinion polls on the dictator and his rogue regime.
Xi’s influence carries far beyond the confines of the internet. Just this month, World Economic Forum Chair Klaus Schwab declared in an interview with Chinese state media that “China is a model for many countries.” In early 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci also signed off on emails from the World Health Organization that pushed for praise of the authoritarian government’s response to COVID-19. Despite this high admiration from Xi’s sycophants, what approach not to take during a global pandemic is proving to be the only gold standard China has met.
Now, hundreds of Chinese citizens are daring to speak out, pushing back against the strict mandates that left families trapped in deadly apartment fires and threatened their country’s food supply. In the streets of Urumqi, the capital of the predominantly Chinese Muslim region of Xinjiang, citizens have been locked up for more than 100 days with doors physically sealed shut. As the protests escalated across Shanghai, CCP authorities attempted to shut down coverage of dissent. They arrested and beat BBC journalist Edward Lawrence, holding him for several hours. Apple reportedly limited the Airdrop feature in China just days before the unrest began, hampering protestors’ ability to share content between devices. This was a key feature that had previously allowed them to evade internet content moderators and share real-time videos freely.
There is a long power struggle ahead as many of China’s 1.4 billion citizens work to free themselves from the tyrannical grip of the Chinese Communist Party. However, these protests are an encouraging step in the right direction. It should be a sign that people will only tolerate authoritarianism for so long before they break, and they should be a shining example to every government worldwide: lockdowns do not work. Censorship does not work. Control does not work. May we never lose sight of the sacred gift of freedom and free speech. I am honored to stand with the Chinese freedom fighters and hope many around the globe will join me.