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04 Jul 2021  (595 Views) 

Protests in China
Are people allowed to protest in China?

This is what I get from Wikipedia. 

In spite of restrictions on freedom of association and of speech, a wide variety of protests and dissident movements have proliferated in the People's Republic of China, particularly in the decades since the death of Mao Zedong.

Among the most notable of these were the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Communist Party rule, the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, which were put down with brutal military force, and the 25 April 1999 demonstration by 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners at Zhongnanhai.

Protesters and dissidents in China espouse a wide variety of grievances, including corruption, forced evictions, unpaid wages, human rights abuses, environmental degradation, ethnic protests, petitioning for religious freedom and civil liberties, protests against one-party rule, as well as nationalist protests against foreign countries.

The number of annual protests has grown steadily since the early 1990s, from approximately 8,700 "mass group incidents" in 1993 to over 87,000 in 2005. 

In 2006, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences estimated the number of annual mass incidents to exceed 90,000, and Chinese sociology professor Sun Liping estimated 180,000 incidents in 2010.

Mass incidents are defined broadly as "planned or impromptu gathering that forms because of internal contradictions", and can include public speeches or demonstrations, physical clashes, public airings of grievances, and other group behaviors that are seen as disrupting social stability.

Despite the increase in protests, some scholars have argued that they may not pose an existential threat to Communist Party rule because they lack "connective tissue;" the preponderance of protests in China are aimed at local-level officials, and only a select few dissident movements seek systemic change. 

In a study conducted by Chinese academic Li Yao, released in 2017, the majority of protests which were non-controversial did not receive much if any negative police action, which is to say police may have been present but in no more capacity than Western police would be attending to a protest/mass gathering event.

The idea that Chinese do not protest or would be brutally repressed for any kind of political action does not seem to be supported by existing data. In addition, it was noted at times that the national government uses these protests as a barometer to test local officials' response to the citizens under their care.

China has a population that is 250 times of Singapore. The 180,000 protests in China corresponds to 700 protests in Singapore. I do not think that we have so many protests a year.

People in China are allowed to protests (as long as it does not threaten the national security), while this freedom is restricted in Singapore.

Tan Kin Lian


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