The New York TimesThe New York Times

Stifled by Decade Under Xi, Dissent Roars Back to Life

By Chris Buckley

02 Dec 2022 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

The NYT provides an in-depth analysis of how the surge of protest in China has sent a stunning sign that even after a decade under Xi’s rule, the population dares to imagine, "even demand," change.

Striding out to speak to the Chinese nation just under six weeks ago, Xi Jinping exuded regal dominance. He had just won what was likely to be another decade in power. His new team of subordinates stood out as unbending loyalists. A Communist Party congress had cemented his authoritarian agenda and promised a “new era” when China’s 1.4 billion people would stay in ever-loyal step with him and the party.

But a nationwide surge of protest has sent a stunning sign that even after one decade under Xi’s rule, a small and mostly youthful part of the population dares to imagine, even demand, another China: more liberal, less controlling, politically freer. A murmur of dissent that has survived censorship, detentions and official damnation under Xi suddenly broke into a collective roar.

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