November 28, 2022


Blank sheets of paper become symbol of defiance in China protests (Martin Quin Pollard and Brenda Goh, 11/28/22, Reuters) 

In Shanghai, a crowd that started gathering late on Saturday to hold a candlelight vigil for the Urumqi victims held up blank sheets of paper, according to witnesses.

Similar sheets of paper could be seen held by people at separate Sunday gatherings on the grounds of Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University and along the Chinese capital's 3rd Ring Road near the Liangma River.

"The white paper represent everything we want to say but cannot say," said Johnny, 26, who took part in one of the Liangma River gatherings. [...]
One widely shared video said to be from Saturday, which could not be independently verified, showed a lone woman standing on the steps of the Communication University of China in the eastern city of Nanjing with a piece of paper before an unidentified man walks into the scene and snatches it away.

Other images showed dozens of other people subsequently taking to the university's steps with blank sheets of paper´╝îilluminated against the night sky by flashlights from their mobile phones. [...]

Widespread in-person protests are rare in China, where room for dissent has been all-but eliminated under President Xi Jinping, forcing citizens mostly to vent on social media where they play cat-and-mouse games with censors.

In Hong Kong in 2020, activists also raised blank sheets of white paper in protest to avoid slogans banned under the city's new national security law, which was imposed after massive and sometimes violent protests the previous year. Demonstrators in Moscow have also used them this year to protest Russia's war with Ukraine. [...]

Several Internet users showed solidarity by posting blank white squares or photos of themselves holding blank sheets of paper on their WeChat timelines or on Weibo. By Sunday morning, the hashtag "white paper exercise" was blocked on Weibo, prompting users to lament the censorship.

"If you fear a blank sheet of paper, you are weak inside," one Weibo user posted.

Being unable to innovate, they should have bought our vaccines.

Posted by at November 28, 2022 12:00 AM