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Red Lantern Shanghai Halloween: Standing against Xi Jinping amid censorship and repression

Red Lantern Shanghai Halloween: Standing against Xi Jinping amid censorship and repression
Red Lantern Shanghai Halloween: Standing against Xi Jinping amid censorship and repression

Young people celebrated this rare event in China. Masks are opportunities for satire and dissent without crossing red lines. Security forces and police were deployed across the city, detaining a number of young people. Videos and photos emerged on social media of people in disguise taking advantage of the rare opportunity to express their dissatisfaction.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – In Shanghai, young people celebrated Halloween in various costumes under police surveillance, using the opportunity to express dissent without crossing any deadly “red lines”.

The celebrations begin over the weekend and last until the early hours of January 1st, with activities concentrated in the heart of the big city.

People dressed as Winnie the Pooh, medical staff in hazmat (hazmat) suits, a young woman covering herself with white paper, and a variety of costumes reflecting the country’s social reality and recent events.

Although Halloween is not a Chinese tradition, this year’s celebration in Shanghai went viral with numerous photos and videos shared on social media.

On the streets, there was nothing critical about the celebrations, but the costumes and activities – with heavy use of sarcasm and sarcasm – hinted at dissatisfaction with the authorities and their policies.

The most important example is the Winnie the Pooh costume, which received applause from many in the crowd. Given President Xi Jinping’s resemblance to the famous fictional bear, the cartoon character is a sensitive subject for Chinese authorities.

The police took away a man dressed as the emperor because it clearly connoted “absolute” power.

There is no restriction on young people wearing masks. During the worst period of the COVID-19 pandemic, some young people wearing protective suits and masks pretending to be medical staff became a permanent feature.

At one party, some people dressed in head-to-toe white hazmat suits waved coronavirus test swabs and handed out hand sanitiser to passers-by, a very common practice under the government’s strict zero-COVID rules that require strict The lockdown, along with the harsh lockdown, has taken an economic and social toll.

The policy also triggered a wave of protests in autumn 2022, forcing the authorities to repeal it entirely, especially since the virus could not be contained anyway.

Young people waved blank sheets of paper during last year’s anti-lockdown protests. Now, a year later, a young woman covered herself with white paper and celebrated a carnival-style festival, and her photo caught the attention of many, reminding them of a recent past that was still etched in their memories.

Of course, police monitored the crowd’s every move, using numerous police cars stationed on street corners to check IDs, as evidenced by the many photos and videos posted online.

Authorities also cordoned off some areas to prevent entry, and some masked people were removed or removed.

The death of former Prime Minister Li Keqiang caused some indirect reactions among some revelers in Shanghai. One person was dressed as a wreath that read “Deepest Condolences,” while another was dressed as a road sign that read: “I’m in Shanghai; I want you dead.”

Although not named, the photo of the man in the costume attracted attention online, with many assuming the “you” refers to Xi Jinping.

Meanwhile, authorities are closely monitoring those mourning the recent death of former Prime Minister Li Keqiang to prevent mourning from turning into an anti-Xi Jinping outburst.

Security measures have been stepped up near Li Keqiang’s home in Hefei, Anhui Province. Agents also began examining cards attached to floral tributes for sensitive content.

Over the weekend, US President Joe Biden met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and expressed condolences over the death of Li Keqiang. After the report first appeared in Chinese media, it quickly disappeared from China’s Xinhua News Agency.

According to an official statement, Li Keqiang’s body will be cremated in Beijing today, and flags will be flown at half-mast in Beijing.

avoid red lines

The Halloween celebrations sparked widespread reactions on social media. One young man told Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Despite the huge political pressure (we are facing), people still seem to be quite savvy (about this event).”

On the evening of October 31, he was one of the gatherings at Xintiandi in Shanghai, nicknamed Qiao Ao. He explained: “Some people use cosplay to express their political views, and now they are expressing their political views through Halloween.”

“They make their voices heard without crossing government red lines. People like this have always existed in China,” he added, noting that young people now wear clothing to express dissent.

Former Shanghai resident Emily (pseudonym) also agreed with this view, saying: “Epidemic control may have been lifted, but nothing has really gotten better, not the political atmosphere, not freedom of speech, not the economy, not people’s ability to make a living. No.”

Although the city is a cosmopolitan financial hub, locals who have returned home after living or studying abroad are “shocked” by what they find.

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The article is in Chinese

Tags: Red Lantern Shanghai Halloween Standing Jinping censorship repression


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