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Strange scenes surrounding Xi’s third term
The China Letter: October 23, 2022
While largely scripted narratives surrounded the Communist Party congress, plot twists came in the form of a daring protest and a former leader being removed from the room—as the hopes of pandemic restrictions loosening were dashed. Also, the latest on tensions surrounding Taiwan, and a diplomat explains why he pulled some hair.
Power of the “Bridge Man”
As the Communist Party congress was getting underway, an unknown protester caused a social media stir for his solitary demonstration against the policies of Xi Jinping. “Bridge Man,” who wore an orange worksuit and a yellow hardhat, inspired similar protests elsewhere as Xi secured a third term with no plans to retire.
Hu suspiciously removed
Any unpredictable scene at the choreographed closing ceremony of the Communist Party congress would’ve raised suspicion, let alone when it involved Xi’s predecessor being unexpectedly led out of the room. State media reported that Hu Jintao was “not feeling well,” but the footage led to worldwide wondering whether the ex-leader’s purge was political.
The authoritarian pandemic
Masks seem to have been reinforced as a fact of life in China based on how draconian zero-COVID policies were considered at the Communist Party congress, alongside state media touting the approach as “scientific and effective.” Punishing lockdowns continue to roll through the country, spurring a downturn that now benefits other nations economically.
War in the air everywhere
Plans to increase production capacity for U.S.-designed arms have been drawn up with the intention of deterrence against China, bolstered by the fact that Taiwan would be supplying the facilities. Time is considered of the essence as an invasion widow tapers toward 2027. Chinese state media has been spinning the reports with standard skepticism.
The hair-pulling apparent
“I didn’t beat anybody. I didn’t let my people beat anybody. The fact is, the so-called protesters beat my people,”said Zheng Xiyuan after video footage emerged of him pulling the hair of a protester. China’s diplomat in Manchester, England, was defending his behaviour at a clearly peaceful demonstration rallying for democracy in Hong Kong.