Several overseas Chinese nationals gathered on the streets of New York City on Halloween with anti-Xi Jinping placards to protest against the ruling Chinese government.
Around 30 protesters marched in Manhattan on Monday night to oppose the Chinese president’s authoritarian rule.
“I hold certain political beliefs, so naturally I came along because there was an activity,” a protester, only identified by his surname Wang, told Radio Free Asia. “There was no decision-making process to go through.”
Some protesters were reportedly seen carrying banners in English and Chinese with phrases such as “Free China!” and “Stand with Hong Kong.” Some of them also called for a “Class boycott to remove the dictator Xi Jinping.” The protesters were Chinese nationals studying and working in New York City, according to reports.
The protesters reportedly used the messaging app Telegram to communicate their plans to meet at Freeman Plaza West. Those who organized the march advised participants to wear something that would cover their faces and to also turn off any phones due to the fear of Chinese agents infiltrating them.
A woman who attended the march was spotted carrying a card referencing “Tank Man,” a man who was photographed standing in the way of a phalanx of Chinese tanks near Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989.
“This [protest] is a continuation of that spirit. He disappeared after he made that stand. I don’t think we should let him disappear,” the woman, whose name was not revealed, told RFA, adding that the man who hung anti-Xi banners from a Beijing overpass last month also encountered a similar fate. That man, identified on social media as protester Peng Lifa, was later dubbed online as the “Bridge Man.”
Zhou Fengsuo, a former protest leader at Tiananmen Square who now runs Humanitarian China, a human rights group based in the United States, was glad to see younger people joining the protest on Monday. Zhou noted that the march had no backing of an official group or individuals, calling it a “last resort method, given the current circumstances.”
“The will of the people is like a volcano; their dissatisfaction is suppressed, bottled up inside and covered over, so you can’t see it. But from time to time it gets an opportunity to burst out,” Zhou told Radio Free Asia.
“It’s crucial that young people get to experience this,” he added. “Now that they’ve done this, they definitely won’t be the same as before.”
The recent protest came more than a week after Xi secured his third term as the general secretary of the Communist Party.
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