Nanjing Woman Takes Aim at Chinese President Over Coronavirus Epidemic


2020-02-21
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xijinping-critic.jpg Chinese President Xi Jinping wears a protective facemask as a health official checks his body temperature during an inspection of the novel coronavirus pneumonia prevention and control work in Beijing, in photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Feb. 10, 2020.
AFP

An outspoken young woman from the eastern city of Nanjing has hit out at President Xi Jinping over his handling of the coronavirus epidemic.

Jin Yan posted a short video to social media on Monday in which she took Xi to task for his handling of the crisis.

"I'm not trying to pick a fight with Xi Jinping; it's a question of good vs. evil, ya know?" Jin says in the video.

"He has dragged the people of China, possibly the rest of the world too, into a very dark place."

"I never really paid much attention to him before this, yeah, but now I pretty much have to, don't I?" Jin said. "People's lives are at stake."

"Our compatriots in Wuhan are under total lockdown, in extremis, and yet Comrade Xi Jinping swaggers around Beijing talking about the sounds of celebration," she said. "Is this humane? Well, is it?"

Boycott Tencent

Jin then turned her sights on social media giant Tencent for implementing the ruling Chinese Communist Party's censorship policies and suppressing people's freedom of speech.

"I want to say this to Tencent, because if I don't, how will things get any better?" she said. "They are shutting down chat groups and accounts every day."

"Is that how you treat the people who put food on your table and clothes on your back?"

"Clearly, you don't yet know what Jin Yan is made of," she said, calling for a boycott of Tencent "to make them go bankrupt overnight."

It was unclear whether Jin had suffered any repercussions for her outburst.

Her tirade comes amid growing public anger over the suppression of information and public speech amid the coronavirus epidemic.

Xi is known for taking attacks and insults personally.

Challenge to Xi's authority

Australia-based commentator Feng Chongyi said the coronavirus epidemic is the biggest challenge to Xi's authority since he took power.

"If the Chinese Communist Party intensifies its crackdown on the internet and freedom of speech, this could trigger street protests or social movements," Feng told RFA.

"The likelihood of internal changes in the leadership is also increasing," he said.

Former 1989 student protest leader Wuer Kaixi, who is currently based in Taiwan, said Jin Yan's attack on Xi isn't the first to emerge during the coronavirus epidemic.

He said Tsinghua University professor Xu Zhangrun and detained anti-corruption activist Xu Zhiyong have both penned open letters to the president, hitting out at his handling of the epidemic.

"These open letters are an appeal to Xi Jinping to step down," he said. "He should take not just political responsibility, but also legal responsibility for the various crimes of the Communist Party in the past, including its response to the epidemic."

Last month, authorities in the central Chinese province of Hunan released a woman incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital for splashing ink on a poster of China's President Xi Jinping in a live-streamed protest on social media.

Dong Yaoqiong was sent for "compulsory treatment" after she streamed live video of herself splashing ink on a poster of President Xi in protest at "authoritarian tyranny" on July 4, 2018.

She was then committed as a psychiatric patient in a women's ward in Hunan's Zhuzhou No. 3 Hospital. Her father, Dong Jianbiao, who was detained when he tried to visit her, has suggested the authorities put extreme pressure on her mother to sign the committal papers.

Reported by Lee Tsi-tsi and Fong Tak-ho for RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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