As The Chinese Government Ramps Up Oppression, Citizens Are Pushing Back

from the antagonizing-winnie-the-pooh dept

The Chinese government often seems like an unstoppable force of evil. Perhaps the word “seems” needs to be removed from the previous sentence. The government seems all too capable of keeping a few billion people in line, strongly suggesting it has obtained the oppression cheat codes.

But there are still signs of life. Residents of Hong Kong made the Chinese government work extra hard for every inch of ill-gotten gains. In the end, it took the replacement of pretty much the entire Hong Kong government to make it stick. But China has enough power to hot-swap leaders during intense upheaval, so it’s not entirely inconceivable it can bring an entire, sprawling nation to heel.

But credit where it’s due: some residents are fighting back despite the long odds. This excellent report for Yahoo by Amy Qin, John Liu, and Amy Chang Chien contains some good, somewhat heartening news about citizens still willing to take on the 800-lb. gorilla that controls their lives.

Chinese artists have staged performances to highlight the ubiquity of surveillance cameras. Privacy activists have filed lawsuits against the collection of facial recognition data. Ordinary citizens and establishment intellectuals alike have pushed back against the abuse of COVID tracking apps by authorities to curb protests. Internet users have shared tips on how to evade digital monitoring.

It’s not just art or protests that may be tolerated but otherwise ignored by the Chinese government. Chinese citizens have occasionally scored wins against the surveillance/censorship monolith that controls their lives.

Starting in late 2020, several Chinese cities began banning neighborhood committees from forcing residents to undergo biometric monitoring to enter their compounds. Around the same time, toilet paper dispensers using facial recognition were removed from public bathrooms in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan following public outrage.

In online forums like Zhihu, a Quora-like platform, Chinese users trade advice on how to evade surveillance (tips include wearing hats and masks and pointing flashlights at security cameras). More than 60% of Chinese people say facial recognition technology has been abused, according to a study of more than 20,000 Chinese jointly conducted in late 2020 by a Chinese think tank and a government task force. More than 80% expressed concern about whether and how facial recognition data would be stored.

Adding to the government’s woes is the fact that it shit the bed and then pretended no one could detect the odor. Earlier this month, a hacker apparently obtained millions of records (criminal and otherwise) collected by Shanghai police and offered them for sale. The Chinese government decided to pretend it wasn’t happening. Censorship targeting terms related to the Shanghai breach were implemented immediately. And government officials refused to fully acknowledge what had happened even when calling for measures to prevent it from happening again.

At a Cabinet meeting chaired by China’s premier, Li Keqiang, last week, officials made only a passing reference to the question of privacy, emphasizing the need to “defend information security” so that the public and businesses could “operate with peace of mind,” according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

But even with the pushback and the government beclowning itself, Chinese citizens are still very much under the government’s thumb. When the government wants to put citizens back in their places, it has plenty of options at its disposal. Behold this fuckery.

Protesters fighting to recover their savings from four rural banks in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou found that the mobile apps used to identify and isolate people who might be spreading COVID-19 had turned from green — meaning safe — to red, a designation that would prevent them from moving freely.

Communism means everyone can equally be the first against the wall (except for those more equal than others [and except for the country’s Muslim minority, which will be expected to be both those against the wall and the wall itself, so that the people’s bullets aren’t wasted by inept executioners]).

It’s good to know the Chinese government still hasn’t managed to achieve complete subservience. But Chinese citizens unhappy with their government misrepresentation have very few local allies and, sadly, even fewer powerful allies abroad. But if the Soviet Union could be toppled, there’s still hope yet for the Chinese public… even if it may end in a regression to the oppressive mean a couple of decades down the road.

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Comments on “As The Chinese Government Ramps Up Oppression, Citizens Are Pushing Back”

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David says:


And that’s quite relevant because Americans don’t desire communism, but totalitarianism is all the rage.

Shakespeare’s Romeo voiced “O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;”, but naming the suppression of the Chinese people “communism” helps to not confuse it with the patriotic attempts to suppress anything un-American in the U.S.

In the end, it is similarly cynical to declare “freedom” has to mean taking away the freedom of others to determine their own fate and live their own life, or to declare suppression of any individual interest as serving the “commune”.

Fascism as a political doctrine is frowned upon and has been supplanted by various political systems that somehow smell just as sweet…

I can imagine George Washington and Karl Marx shaking their heads in synch and saying “that’s not what I was talking about.”

Samuel Abram (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I can imagine George Washington and Karl Marx shaking their heads in synch and saying “that’s not what I was talking about.”

To be fair, both George Washington and Karl Marx would probably be impressed by the fact that there are automated algorithmic drawing programs like DALL-E, and the former would wonder why a person who looked like one of his slaves was became president.

Anonymous Coward says:

The soviet Union was failing , as a ramshackle economy, producing low quality goods, shortage of basic goods, there was a network of people importing western books, music.
It could not support a modern army with nuclear weapons tanks and planes while supplying things like cars tvs for the public
It can’t be compared with China
Tapes, China is the worlds factory producing
Tvs, phones, laptops, most of the stuff on amazon is made in China. China makes 1984 look like a cartoon, they can use installed phones apps and Web monitoring to watch everyone
There’s no truly private companys in China every company has a government board member
China is like Iran every public protest is stopped quickly by arresting protestors or putting them under 24 7 surveillance
China has millions of police security staff and Web censors
Thered little chance of anyone going to war with China as it has nuclear weapons
The only chance of China collapsing is if it was boycotted by Western country’s EU and America which rely on its cheap products and electronic chips and devices
Of course this may change as we can see climate change increased energy prices inflation high food prices causing political unrest in country’s around the world

Christenson says:

Re: Re: Burden of authoritarian/totalitarian society

As to the next Chinese revolution? It pays to note that both the machinery and its effects are a significant, difficult to measure burden on the economies they operate in because they suppress the mavericks who find the better ways.

This can be seen even in Japan and the US, where entrepreneurship is at a very low level.

ECA (profile) says:

With enough idiocy

Can we find SOME logic?

We need some translated Newspapers.
See if anyone is tracking the corruption in the system.
I will bet, that the WHOLE of CHINA is no longer Socialist or Communist. I will bet its as corrupt as any capitalist system. Only the RICH get the best, and those who WORK/do Good, by the gov. get any favors.

It would really Show Why some of the things WE can see are totally ridiculous.(love those Falling building vid’s, and the roadways build so fast, there isnt even support under it, and those Cities built that no one lives in(watched a story about that, TOTAL CAPITALIST keeping money hidden)

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Ill-gotten gains like actually being able to charge the wealthy with crimes?

I mean, by all means let’s maintain a critical eye and criticize the overabundance of public monitoring, but let’s not kid ourselves. The current round of the Hong King crisis largely spawned from a single event – a wealthy businessman killing his partner while on a trip to Hong Kong. China attempted to author a law so that they could actually prosecute this man for the murder. Hong Kong citizens protested, and China dropped attempts to introduce said law. The US has certainly funded elements of the protests, via means such as the National Endowment for Democracy, and it remains contentious what level of involvement the US has had in the protests.

We can criticize what is happening without acting as though everything in Hong Kong happened because Mean Mister Xi woke up one morning and decided he wanted to be evil today.

Anonymous Coward says:


Here’s another CCP-aligned harasser.

China didn’t fucking drop attempts to force the law onto Hong Kong, they fucking pushed it all the way and got all of Hong Kong under their thumb. By force.

Hong Kong has been part of China since 1997, 50center. They didn’t NEED to engineer new laws. The Chinese police forces have JURISDICTION in HONG KONG.

Murder’s a pretty big deal and I’m very sure the investigation team had all their paperwork in order for that event. There would likely be zero need to force a new law down.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

This is misinformation, pure and simple. Due to extradition laws, among other ephemera dating to before 1997 (when Hong Kong, still a part of China, was under British rule due to an extended lease), Hong Kong and mainland China would not work together on this. The original measures have long since been dropped.

Debate the rest of China’s influence on the island as you like, but you don’t get to pull facts out of your ass.

Prove me wrong. Please. If you have counterevidence, I would legitimately love to see it.

DBA Phillip Cross says:

Re: Re: Re:4

Looks like someone forgot their Hegelian hasbara manual at home.

closer to Fascism in praxis while nominally Communist

Oligarchies are oligarchies, whether US-FVEY’s-British-Israeli/Russian, Chinese CCP, or the Ukraine.

Then, there’s that other secret, illegal rendition program, and some assasinations of US persons I heard about awhile back–you far right NEDspergs and Bellingcat #spookjournos need to get your facts straight.

Y’all may be thinking that these alleged CCP trolls are FiftyCenter’s, as you attempt whackamole–but in reality, it is you JTRIG/Ned/NGO/.mil trolls that have undermined US-FVEY’s democracy–no need to cite examples.

So, yeah–rational people are preparing for the tri-polar world, not the bipolar disordered world you come from.

Anonymous Coward says:

The whole “but America/Europe too” argument is so weak. No country is perfect, because no human is perfect, but for all of the Communist apologists out there, go live in Communist China for a decade and come back (if they’ll let you back) and tell us how it really is.
While you’re over there, be sure to stay away from:
-the Muslims
-the Christians
-the homosexuals
-the political dissidents

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5

It’s worth noting that Jack Ma famously espoused his support for the unsustainable, unhealthy working lifestyle of “996”, calling the practice of working 12 hours a day, six days a week a “blessing”. The Chinese government saw no reason to disagree, up until enough people complained, and both Jack Ma and the CCP quietly withdrew their support, with the latter outlawing 996 practices… on the surface. Realistically, 996 is still very much an unspoken reality for most grunt-level workers in the tech sector, because companies know full well anyone who complains can be easily replaced with a more compliant doormat.

And in a similar fashion, as soon as support for Jack Ma started becoming inconvenient for the CCP, they had him quieted. Jack Ma’s an overprivileged douchenozzle for praising 996, but it’s not as though he hadn’t learned it from his masters, the people in charge.

DBA Phillip Cross says:


Or, maybe hop in a time machine, and go live in György Lukács version of communism–I mean, what is the exact enemy here?

Totalitarianism and suppression of the people’s voice, in any form of government–by censorship or by proxy, is what it is, as noted by others herein.

The US-FVEY’s might be able to hide behind some fancy PR, and CIA-NED funded trolls, claiming it is not that, but by every meter and metric, it is an oligarch-led, total and secret surveillance state on a direct par with China, by those exact same metrics.

DBA Phillip Cross says:

Re: Re: Re:

You are, though, helping YOUR causes: Mega as opposed to MAGA, , Israelification, US-FVEY’s totalitarianism, Russian Oligarchy, and NED. lol.

Keep up the “good work,” FVEYs troll-sperg.

LOL. You wouldn’t know “democracy” unless I beat your face in with it, and pissed on your new scarification to remind you of such wounding.

And, I would gladly BEAT IN YOUR FACE, for free, rabbi hasbara scumbag–so, crybully about that on some SM that gives a shit about your type of toxic, spergficating divisive SocMed troll.

Contrary to popular opinion, I would GLADLY stomp your face, without regrets of any kind. With Israeli supplied “Nazi” boots, and the calling cards of British-Israel fascists as my guide.

DBA Phillip Cross says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Easy on your “the goyim know!!!” routine, you sociopath–anyone here knows what you are–György Lukács, doing your hasbara dirt as an Anonymous Coward, just like Lukács was disguised in Bulgaria back then.

insert baseless claim of antisemitism here

wage starvation and torture campaign shortly thereafter

declare liberation

flood the nation with illicit drugs and alcohol

move on to nation B

insert baseless claim of antisemitism here…

and so on.

You are 100% Mega Group funded, and 100% schismogenetic.

And. 100% not welcome here.

DBA Phillip Cross says:

Re: Re: Re:5

In your case, projecting means your projection of NATO expansionism and Nina Jancowicz styled disinformation everywhere.

I was so sorry to see your website Institute for Statecraft go dark, AClol/s.

Democracy in the west has died–it cannot be resuscitated, because of NATO/US-FVEY’s/ADL-hasbara/NGO AC trolls like you, crapping on conversations online.

Real American’s are out here seeking new solutions because western fake-democracies have tumbled due to your dishonest propaganda, directed at US-FVEY’s citizens.

And this meme, of course.

Yes, I Know I` m Commenting Anonymously says:

Taking things literally

“The Chinese government often seems like an unstoppable force of evil. Perhaps the word “seems” needs to be removed from the previous sentence.”

That would result in “The Chinese government often like an unstoppable force of evil.” They certainly like an unstoppable force of getting what they want, but they would not call that evil themselves. Besides, the term government is a collective noun so the sentence does not run. I would suggest substituting the word with something else instead of outright removing it.
/Taking things literally

Anonymous Coward says:

Since YOU, AC accused me of being a CCP member, because I wrote a phrase in Chinese.

Actually, it was a different AC that noted your obvious allegiance through your numerous references to FVEY, not because you posted Chinese ideograms a couple of times. Of course, since only trolls confuse one individual with another…

That’s why, you pork eating asscrackface.

Either I’m Jewish or I eat pork. You can’t have it both ways, turdmeister.

DBA Phillip Cross says:

There you go again with your schismogenetic binaries. Listen–57% of US Jews eat pork.

Mmmm. I smell apple-smoked bacon….my favorite from New Glarus, WI….mmmmm…..landjaeger, with a waft of caraway!….you know you want it! ;P

But “you” is a question mark–and you are an one of two particularly noxious AC trolls, Thing 1 and Thing 2, whose noxious trolling mirrors the worst of any deep state milieu swamprat–you can’t expect the public to seriously be able to tell you apart?

Like all of your other work online, ranging from schismogenetic and divisive rhetoric about politics, or your NATO expansionist stuff–you Institute for Statecraft types cannot be discerned one from the other for the most part; a unified blob of distraction and derailment spread across the internet like (disgusting image warning ahead!) Vegemite on a keyboard .

And take your “rules based” world order with you–because only your types (whatever race or ethnicity you actually are–)skirt the rules entirely. Don’t bring the bacon eating Jews of the world into your pathetic hasbara op’s.

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