Two blocks from the White House, 200 protesters lit candles to shout “Free China!” on Sunday. It was a demonstration of support for demonstrations calling for an end in anti-virus controls and political change in China.
Protesters at Freedom Plaza waved signs demanding President Xi Jinping, the ruling Communist Party, and their resignation. They held blank sheets of paper as a symbol of their opposition to the party’s pervasive censorship. Some shouted, “Free China!”
Nov. 25 was the day protests began after at least 10 people lost their lives in a fire in Urumqi (a city in China’s northwest). Authorities denied suggestions that firefighters or those trying to escape were prevented by anti-virus control. However, the public became frustrated by curbs that keep millions of people inside their homes after the disaster.
“I didn’t care much about these issues before because it never happened to me,” said a Chinese student, Liu. This was due to fear of retaliation.
Liu stated that “the COVID policies are really wrong.” “Now that my rights have been protected, I will do all I can to make sure I am free to speak freely in any country I visit.”
Uighurs, Tibetans, as well as members of other ethnic minority groups that are subject to surveillance and control by Communist Party, joined the protests.
“I was encouraged in China by the brave young people,” said one man refusing to give his name.
He replied, “How could we not stand up after what they did?” “I’ll at least let them understand that they weren’t alone.”