July 1, 1997 marked the handover of Hong Kong from Great Britain to the People's Republic of China, and every July 1 since, hundreds to thousands of people have marched in this city. Since 2003, as this Wikipedia entry informs, the number has sometimes been hundreds of thousands (though, because Hong Kong is terrible with big-number estimates, we never have an exact figure.) This year? "A massive protest is expected," reports Wall Street Journal. On the docket: direct elections and the resignation of chief executive Leung Chun-ying.
"A few hundred" people showed up to a pro-Edward Snowden rally in Hong Kong on Saturday, the city where the NSA whistleblower is believed to still be residing. Reports Reuters:
Marchers gathered outside the U.S. consulate shouting slogans denouncing alleged spying operations aimed at China and Hong Kong, but the numbers were modest compared to rallies over other rights and political issues.
"Arrest Obama, free Snowden," protesters shouted outside the slate grey building as police looked on. Many waved banners that said: "Betray Snowden, betray freedom", "Big brother is watching you" and "Obama is checking your email".
In Jiyuan, Henan province on Friday, a 26-year-old woman bumped into a 10-year-old girl, which in itself shouldn't have caused a near-riot if not for the words that came out of the driver's mouth...
"I come from an influential family."
A huge crowd has gathered on Kunming's Renmin Road for an environmental protest, the second time this month that residents have gathered to voice their opposition to proposed production of a toxic chemical from a nearby factory.
The first such "Anti-PX" protest in Kunming was on May 4, after China National Petroleum Corporation announced plans to build a chemical plant in nearby Anning to produce 500,000 tons of paraxylene (PX), according to Global Voices. Brian Eyler of East by Southeast recently wrote about the government's response to such protests, a reponse that, judging by what's happening right now, was not satisfactory.
At the start of this POV video taken at Wednesday's protest near Jingwen Shopping Mall in Beijing's Fengtai District, the people chant kangyi, "protest." As a collective they rock back and forth, like a wave. It surges in fits and starts, apparently toward uniformed officers. There is safety in numbers -- civilians outnumber cops -- so individuals feel little hesitancy to shout whatever they please.
But there is also a kind of muted chaos.
A massive police and paramilitary presence has descended upon Fengtai District around Jingwen Clothing and Apparel Shopping Mall, the scene of either a suicide or murder last Friday.
On May 3, a young woman from Anhui province fell to her death from the Jingwen building after allegedly being gang-raped. Police hastily ruled her death a suicide and refused her family's request to see the surveillance footage.
This afternoon, thousands (edit: possibly only "hundreds") of people -- many who are migrant workers from Anhui -- gathered in a planned protest between Jingwen and Yongdingmen, a gate just south of the Temple of Heaven on Second Ring Road (a few kilometers north of Jingwen). Hundreds of police have shown up in turn, many in riot gear. Traffic is reportedly backed up for miles.
Geng Yanbo, mayor of Datong in northern Shanxi province, was ordered to step down on Friday and accept his new position as vice mayor, for mysterious reasons. Residents haven't exactly embraced the decision, reports SCMP. "While it is not unusual to see villagers in China sometimes kneeling to petition for their rights or to seek justice from senior officials, Datong residents have gone down on their knees to plea for a popular mayor to remain in office."
This might become a trend. Following in the footsteps of the Gangnam Style protesters, five migrant workers took to creative means to attract attention to their protest on Thursday outside the China National Radio building in Beijing. Like the Gangnam dancers in Wuhan, these men were demanding unpaid wages, to the tune of 280,000 yuan,... Read more »
A group of 40 construction workers took to looting, rioting, vandalism, mayhem, and Gangnam Style on Monday in Wuhan, Hubei province to protest unpaid wages. Reports are that they’re owed 233,000 yuan from their company. With no other recourse, a man surnamed Lu, the contractor, organized a group Gangnam dance in front of a concert... Read more »
It’s good to see such a public account of the Chinese and Japanese standing in solidarity for once… against an angry horde of 1,000 migrant workers demanding equal regulations. Beginning early Friday morning, employees of Japanese electronic appliance maker Shanghai Shinmei Electric besieged a factory in Shanghai and held 18 Chinese and Japanese managers hostage, including... Read more »
With power, what does a man buy first? A mistress, of course, especially in this country, where it’s been said that “a man without a mistress is useless.” But in Shenzhen on Monday, someone held a little demonstration to push back against the practice of taking ernai (literally, “second wife”). Around Book City outside the Grand Theater... Read more »
Hong Wrong puts it perfectly: Thousands of Hong Kong Christians were unified in intolerance yesterday during a protest against homosexuality at government headquarters… In a city that loves to protest — everything from its chief executive to luxury brands — this might be the worst: people demonstrating against a perceived brave new world in which... Read more »
We're in the second day of censorship protests outside the offices of Southern Weekly in Guangzhou. Today: leftists have come to bat for the government, young men give speeches, and Chinese media rally to Southern Weekly's cause in the only way they can.
For the first time in more than 20 years, according to SCMP, a major newspapers’s editorial staff in China has gone on strike to protest government censorship. They were on the streets this afternoon in Guangzhou, outside Southern Weekly’s offices, scattering chrysanthemums and other flowers, periodically chanting for democracy and human rights. It’s been basically peaceful... Read more »
It began as a strongly worded letter. When journalists at the Guangdong daily paper Southern Weekly returned to work on Thursday to find a section had been altered by a propagandist — headline changed, article replaced — they published an open letter demanding “an investigation into the incident.” They named names, in particular accusing Guangdong propaganda chief Tuo Zhen of... Read more »
Police estimate that about 2,600 protesters participated in a pro-government rally in Hong Kong on Sunday (or "as many as 40,000," if you believe organizers). It was the first half of a doubleheader of protests, with the nightcap coming yesterday -- the anti-government variety -- attended by 17,000, according to police. (In proportional hyperbole, organizers declared 130,000 people showed up.)
Remember, you can do anything in China as long as you don’t subvert the state, anger the wrong people, or — as one subway petitioner found out — “disturb social order.” Meng Zhaohong, whose son was electrocuted at Gulou Station in 2010 when he was a 22-year-old student, has been petitioning for safer subways around... Read more »
That last video we just put up of a man streaking outside the Nobel Banquet Hall in Stockholm wasn’t just some prankster after a laugh, or a drunk man who’d lost his wits. It was part of a coordinated protest featuring none other than Liao Yiwu, author of The Corpse Walker and the recipient of... Read more »
In Stockholm on Monday, on the night of the Nobel banquet, a man dashed butt-naked through the cold and snow, his ebullient battle cry resonating across the dark Swedish night. Wherefore?
According to SVT News (via Notes on the Mosquito, a website about the poetry of Xi Chuan), the streaker was protesting Mo Yan winning the Nobel Prize in Literature. (We don't know Swedish, but we see very clearly after putting the article through Google Translate that Mo Yan is involved.) He was also very drunk, which most people have to be to denude in subfreezing temperatures.
About 300 people gathered on Sunday in Chaoyang District to protest a proposed high-speed rail that would connect Beijing and Shenyang. As noted earlier, they demonstated peacefully, holding mass-printed pieces of paper that read, "Support 18th Congress, oppose bureaucracy" (among other slogans). Oiwan Lam of Global Voices adds more information: