Since the anti-CCP (or anti-Xi) banners hanging incident on Sithong Bridge on October 13, Beijing authorities seem to be facing a formidable enemy, and it has made every effort to gain control.
As reported, one of the two banners hung on the bridge read: “No PCR tests, we want food. No restrictions, we want freedom. No lies, we want dignity. No Cultural Revolution, we want reform. No leaders, we want votes. No being slaves, we want to be citizens.” The other called on residents to “strike at school and work, eliminate the dictator and national traitor Xi Jinping.”
Creaders News reported that, in addition to quickly deleting any posts on the internet, many words such as “Beijing,” “warrior,” “Sithong Bridge,” and the district “Haidian” are now banned. The latest news is that Beijing has sent people to monitor all traffic and pedestrian bridges in the city.
According to information posted on the RFA‘s Twitter account, Beijing took emergency measures after the incident, including dispatching staff in militia uniforms to monitor all traffic and pedestrian bridges around-the-clock. At the same time, the county governments also posted an urgent recruitment for “bridge guards” who will be on duty 24/7. There will be two shifts, with a daily salary of 280 to 320 yuan (about $38 – $45).
A netizen also revealed that Beijing streets now have a guard posted every 50 steps.
Such a protest in China’s most sensitive area has shocked the foreign press
Josh Chin, vice president of The Wall Street Journal’s China office, tweeted, “Being able to do this is courageous, under the stifling of stability measures, to be able to accomplish this is astonishing.”
Isaac Stone Fish, a former reporter for Time magazine in China, exclaimed, “I have lived in Beijing for six years, and although China a few years ago was more open than it is now, I have never seen things like this.”
Don Weinland, correspondent for The Economist in Shanghai also tweeted, “This (probably soon to be called the Sithong Bridge incident) shows the oddity in China. Most other places, an individual’s protest activity is often not reported. But in Beijing, an individual’s voice is tightly controlled, and this incident has become an important chapter in history.”
Taiwanese media cmmedia quoted Cai Xia, a former professor at the Party School of the Chinese Central Committee, as saying that in the three years since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation of the CCP’s “zero-COVID” policy has made the economy, society, and people’s livelihood across the country seem to be falling down a cliff. The Chinese are inherently very patient, but have reached the limit, so there will definitely be resilient warriors standing up to fight.”
Who is behind the banner incident?
According to VOA, some netizens revealed that the anti-Xi banners hanging incident is most likely caused by a person with the Twitter account Peng Zaizhou, whose real name is Peng Lifa, an electromagnetic research scientist and technology employee, from Tailai County, Heilongjiang Province. But some commentators said that, under the close supervision of the CCP, two banners were hung at the same time, and some objects were set on fire to give off dense smoke, which must have been an organized act by many people.
However, Professor Feng Chongyi, a China expert at the University of Technology Sydney, analyzed and pointed out to Sound of Hope that this seems to be the action of one individual. “Look at today’s digital surveillance, wanting to take such a collective action is very difficult,” he said.
Feng said, in China there were many similar protests but could not be completed, only this time it was successful.
Also according to Sound of Hope, current affairs commentator Wang Beiji praised the protest as a “top notch masterpiece”. “From the time to the place, the behavior, the method, the protest content, to his final intention after the incident, he has the precise analysis and planning,” he said.
Wang further explained: “He (the person hanging the banners) mentioned PCR testing, lockdown, voting and dictatorship. These are all things the Chinese are facing, from people who are forced to take nucleic acid testing, who are trampled and who are controlled by a code, feel really grateful.”
He also introduced that Sithong Bridge was funded and built by Sitong Company, an enterprise that openly supported the student movement on June 4, 1989 (Tiananmen Square massacre). If Peng Taizhou (the man who hung the banners) deliberately chose this place, it can be said that he had good reason, but if it was a coincidence, it is God’s will!
Wu Renhua, a visiting scholar at the Zhang Foquan Center for Human Rights Studies of Soochow University, Taiwan, said, that before the CCP’s 20th National Congress, under strict security conditions in Beijing, Peng was able to successfully hang banners in the gathering place of colleges and high-tech centers, clearly identifying that bringing down Xi Jinping will not be easy. He said, “It reflects that in China, there are many people who are very dissatisfied with Xi Jinping’s 10 years in power, especially this current political situation.”
According to RFI, Peng called on the public to protest on October 16, the opening day of the 20th National Congress of the CCP, by means of striking, leaving school or work. and honking car horns.
Feng Chongyi said that not many people would respond at that time. Such banners or appeals will be spread widely abroad, but will be blocked in China. Those who can receive this information and those who bypass the firewall are very few, so such actions are very risky. If many people take action and protest together, the CCP will not be able to respond. If only a few people and particular places receive the information, as soon as you make a move, the CCP will immediately extinguish it.”
However, Wang Beiji still thinks that this protest has had a great effect, otherwise the CCP would not block the information.
He said, “I call this event a mental atomic bomb in the cognitive war between liberals like us and the CCP. It has inspired many people around the world, who have endured suffering for a long time, and given spiritual encouragement to many Chinese people who are oppressed, locked down, and unable to move freely. The historical and practical significance of this event is enormous, that’s why the CCP is very afraid of it.”