The increasing attention to protests and unrest in China

13 May


On Wednesday 3rd of May a protest began in Beijing about the alleged suicide of a woman called Yuan Liya, aged 22, from Anhui Province. She was found dead after falling off the building and many believe that the young woman had been raped by seven security guards and hence committed suicide. This whole episode led to the protesting of about 200 people initially and then thousands on the streets who believed the woman had been raped and her death hadn’t been investigated enough before the body was cremated without the family’s consent.

As expected the protest resulted in a forceful intervention of thousands of authorities that ensured that the protesters didn’t reach Tiananmen Square. Furthermore the protest had little or no coverage in the news and a woman who posted on Sina Weibo, China’s largest Twitter-like microblog service, was arrested. It is interesting that even though most of the contents related to this story were eliminated from the web, the words “Anhui Girl” were one of the ten most researched signifying that there was significant interest in finding out more about the whole episode. Also it is obvious that many people have tried to post pictures of the protest online, in an attempt to win over censorship and spread the voice. This is particularly interesting, as there seems to be a trend in attempts to avoid the limitations of the web and create awareness about the flaws of justice and the corruption of the authorities.

Certainly, as more and more Chinese seem to find a way around censorship and seem to be keen on making their voice heard and fight for justice, the Government will have to work on accommodating the population’s needs and quests for democracy rather than relying merely on the violent repression of protests and keeping the web clean from any form of dissent.


3 Responses to “The increasing attention to protests and unrest in China”

  1. cjf3g11 May 13, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    This incident above all highlights the underlying discontent among the city’s migrant population, already angry about discrimination and unfair treatment. Hundreds of migrants held a rally in Beijing urging justice for Yuan.
    Although the protest prompted a massive police presence, it does appear to have had some influence as another investigation into Yuan’s death has been ordered personally by President Xi Jinping. However, the second investigation was conducted within 24 hours and came to the same conclusion that Yuan had committed suicide. A 28-year-old woman was later arrested for spreading false rumours. Highlighting the efforts of the president, government, and police to stop the protest and possibly hide corruption. This is further demonstrated by the state censors blocking internet search terms relating to the case, including Yuan’s name, on China’s largest social media site Sina Weibo.
    This not only raises issues of women’s rights in china but also migrant rights. As migrants are separated from traditional familial and village support, these migrants test the efficacy of China’s legal system in protecting those most vulnerable. The anger and underlying discontent demonstrated by this protest, alongside the efforts of the police, Xi Jinping and state censorship to dismiss the issue, suggests that china’s legal system fails to protect migrants and those most vulnerable – in turn, supporting the concerns of the Chinese people.

  2. sb2g10 May 14, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    The issue of the weakening of censorship is becoming more and more apparent. This is yet another example of where despite the authorities attempts, a story that ‘should’ have been kept quiet has manage to make it into the public domain. Even in North Korea, more and more stories have failed to be kept quiet and are managing to make their way on to the web and into the global domain. In an age where technology is continuing to develop at an exponential rate, surely it’s only a matter of time before censorship is a thing of the past?

  3. csm2g10 May 15, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    In response to : The increasing attention to protests and unrest in China……….

    Although the above comment assets that press censorship will surely become a thing of the past in China; I believe that the opposite will be true. As China become more closely integrated into the world economy, it has faced increasing pressure from the West to convert to globalized international “Western” norms. What has China done in response? It has vigorously asserted its “own way” as had point blank refused to adapt its political system to meet international norms. Has it reverted on press freedom or weakened internet control in order to meet international standards of press freedom. No. In the face of the rising challenges from integrating into the international order, China has increased rather than decreased internet control. This rhetoric has been evident in both China’s actual actions (blocking Facebook, Twitter, even Google) and their responses to protests for press freedom which were quickly and forcefully dispelled by China’s leaders. At no point in the last year have China’s leaders sat around and considered the merits of taking into consideration the views put forward by protestors. Protestors are detained, jailed and frequently tortured without second thought. How is this known? Because of the findings of international news agencies working in China.
    In times of crisis and turbulence; as the last few years have proven to be in China, its leaders have tightened the grip on their people, and on their press control, rather than loosened it.

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