The Chinese government issued specific instructions to hide all representations and pictures of President Xi Jinping posted in public after protests of people defacing political advertisements with ink spread throughout the country.
Radio Free Asia reportedly uncovered four independent directives to remove and hide pictures of Xi and other Communist Party of China’s (CPC) leaders.
Party officials feared public response as well as the potential disciplinary reactions from senior officials if the defacing protests were ever to happen in their jurisdiction, according to an unnamed source.
The pulling down of political posters and advertisements happened after a Shanghai resident posted a live video of herself splashing black ink on an image of Xi as a sign of protest on July 4, Taiwan News reported.
Dong Yaoqiong, 29, made the move to protest against Xi’s “autocratic rule and tyranny.”
“Xi Jinping, I’m waiting here for you to catch me! I splashed ink onto your portrait in front of your property,” she added in her viral video before it was taken down.
Dong shared a picture showing multiple officers standing in front of her door. She posted one last message on her Twitter account before mysteriously vanishing.
Tianjin, a city in central China, was the first to respond to the government’s directives. Officials in the city removed all of Xi’s political advertisement on July 5 at around 5 a.m., less than 24 hours after the first protest happened.
Dongguan in Guangdong Province followed the directive a day later on July 6 by issuing a notice not to use images of the CPC or any party leaders. On July 12, the Beijing Baoying Property Management Limited stated in its “special notice” that they were instructed by the authorities to remove all pictures of Xi within 48 hours.
In Changsha, the capital of southern China’s Hunan Province, officials replaced their political advertisements with pictures of Xi along with other officials accompanied by the words “social core values.”
However, the attempt failed as the public continued to splash black ink on the posters.
“This incident of ink splashing is because ordinary people have been beaten and public rights have been abused, but the people have nowhere to vent, no words,” Hsu Chung-yang, an online activist, told RFA.