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Latest for @dw_chinese - Tomorrow is the 31st anniversary of #TiananmenMassacre, and as part of my coverage, I interviewed human rights lawyer @tengbiao and June Fourth student leader @ZhouFengSuo, asking them to reflect on the development within #China ..…
... over the last year through the initial goal of the June Fourth Movement from 31 years ago. Over the last year, #Beijing increased its crackdown on all sectors of the civil society, jailing more activists, human rights lawyers and ordinary citizens.
Additionally, they expanded their crackdown on civil society to #HongKong, triggering a months-long protest against a controversial extradition bill. Since then, spaces within civil society for citizens to initiate events critical of the Chinese government is rapidly ...
... vanishing. We saw thousands of protesters being arrested in #HongKong, many of them under the age of 20, and a group of human rights lawyers and intellectuals were all forced into disappearance after attending a private gathering in Xiamen City in last December.
Just this past weekend, two Chinese citizens were forced into disappearance after attending the virtual commemoration for #TiananmenMassacre, and the whereabouts of both of them remain unknown.
Teng and Zhou both think that as #Beijing continues to use the high-tech assisted model to rule #China, spaces for citizens to exercise civil rights will continue to shrink in the country, pushing it further away from the initial goal of the #JuneFourth movement, ...
... which is to push for China's democratization. Zhou argues that the current phenomenon is not something new in #China. Instead of being a new phenomenon that emerged since Xi Jinping took power, it is the typical trend that the #CCP has been employing over the past 30 yrs.
So for western democracies to assume that situation in #China only worsened since Xi Jinping took power is completely wrong, according to Zhou.
The new phenomenon that emerged in #China since Xi became president is the "acceleration of #Beijing's tightening control over civil society, from all aspects."
"While the logic remains the same for the #CCP, what has changed is #Beijing's growing confidence and capability," said @ZhouFengSuo. "What Xi Jinping has been displaying is arrogance and expansion."
"Internally, the #CCP has been expanding its reach to every part of citizens' lives, and externally, #HongKong is the frontier of this battle. #Beijing's expansion won't stop with #HK, and this is a very important trend for its development."
Zhou thinks #Beijing's biggest assets are "arrogance, unreasonableness and the reliance on weapons to solve all problems." In his view, the #CCP treats its citizens as "people that can be deserted anytime."
@tengbiao points out that despite the growing risks facing Chinese citizens, some of them remain resilient and haven't given up on the idea of fighting for democracy.
"The increasing crackdown on civil society has enhanced the risks facing NGO workers, activists and human rights lawyers. The space that they can have is also rapidly evaporating. The current trend will make resistance much harder, and it will be unideal for the Chinese society."
Zhou argues that while the Chinese civil society is at its lowest point, as long as some people within #China and abroad are resisting against the #CCP, there could still be hope for pursuing democratization in #China.
"Many people want to return to #China and continue the fight for democratization, as they hope to change #China from within. Some people need to take this difficult route, because to many of us, defending the dignity as a human being is an honorable task," said @ZhouFengSuo.
@tengbiao points out that #China's economy, the changing attitude towards China from other countries and the resistance from civil society could all shake up the political landscape in the country.
However, he said #China's totalitarian rule assisted by advanced technologies are making their propaganda become more effective, as less Chinese people are willing to support the resistance against #Beijing.
"If there are no opposing forces within the Chinese society, there are no hope for a coordinated pushback against #Beijing," Teng told me.
He uses #HongKong as an example, arguing that #China's recent move to enact the controversial national security law is completely destroying the promises they made through the One Country, Two Systems' framework.
"It will be very hard for #HongKong to defend its rule of law and freedom by relying on themselves. They need the support from the international community, especially democratic countries in the West. If the international community didn't intervene, #HK's future will be bleak."
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