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‘We Want Freedom’: China Wipes Xi Protest Footage Off the Web

“We want freedom, not lockdowns. We want a vote, not a leader. We want reform, not a cultural revolution,” said a banner stretched across Sitong bridge

A banner across Beijing's Sitong Bridge in protest of Xi Jinping. Oct 13 2022. @JingzhouTao : Twitter


China’s authorities censored online footage of a protest against Xi Jinping days before his ruling party’s twice-a-decade congress event, The Guardian reported.

Photos and videos of signs stretched across Beijing’s Sitong bridge emerged on Twitter on Thursday, stamped with a large red message for the eyes of passing traffic.

“We want freedom, not lockdowns. We want a vote, not a leader. We want reform, not a cultural revolution,” one banner said, accompanied by a booming megaphone and pile of smoke.

Another banner called for strikes and the removal of Xi.



Online discussion about the event was later removed and put behind Beijing’s “great firewall”, the Guardian reported, with China media app WeChat suspending the accounts of those who had been sharing footage of the event on Twitter.

WeChat also blocked keyword searches related to the incident, including “Sitong Bridge”, “Beijing”, “brave” and the hashtag “I saw it,” The Straits Times said, restricting their use to verified ‘blue tick’ accounts.



The event comes days after the head of Britain’s cyber-intelligence agency Jeremy Fleming said China is using its tech powers to clamp down on its own citizens and “rewrite the rules of international security.”

Chinese state media Global Times described Fleming as ‘talking rubbish‘ in a way that reveals his own ‘hooligan nature’.

The country’s Communist Party national congress will commence this Sunday, with Xi Jinping expected to sign on for a third term.


  • by Alfie Habershon


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Alfie Habershon

Alfie is a Reporter at Asia Financial. He previously lived in Mumbai reporting on India's economy and healthcare for data journalism initiative IndiaSpend, as well as having worked for London based Tortoise Media.


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