Fears grow for safety of ‘Wang’, the demonstrator who led crowds calling for end of Xi Jinping and China’s Communist Party, who has not been seen since being dragged away by police following viral video

  • ‘Wang’, 27, allegedly not seen since being arrested at his workplace on Sunday
  • Wang led crowds in chanting anti-communist slogans during Shanghai protests
  • Parents say no official paperwork issued for son’s arrest following viral video 

A demonstrator who led crowds calling for the abolition of the Communist Party of China and its leader Xi Jinping during China’s massive anti-lockdown protests hasn’t been seen since he was arrested last weekend, according to reports.

The 27-year-old man, known only as ‘Wang’, was last seen on Sunday after police arrested him in a bar where he works, the Telegraph reported.

Wang appeared in a viral video of protests in Shanghai recently, leading the crowds in their protest.

The video is the latest in the series of scenes leaking out of China of nationwide protests against the country’s strict Covid measures, including one of protestors throwing bottles at riot police in the southern province of Guangzhou.

Demonstrators protesting over coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions throw glass bottles towards riot police in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China in this screen grab taken from a social media video released on November 30, 2022

Residents confront workers donned in protective suits who are blocking the entrance of a residential compound, amid a coronavirus outbreak in Shanghai, China, in this still image obtained from a social media video released November 30, 2022

Residents confront workers donned in protective suits who are blocking the entrance of a residential compound, amid a coronavirus outbreak in Shanghai, China, in this still image obtained from a social media video released November 30, 2022

In the video Wang features in, he rouses the crowd by shouting out a series of questions as they respond. 

He asks: ‘Xi Jinping?’ to which the crowd shouts in reply: ‘Down with him!’ The crowd also gives the same response to the question: ‘Communist Party?’

Wang’s parents told the Telegraph that there has been no paperwork for their son’s arrest, and didn’t seem comfortable to elaborate on what their son had done in the video.  

Such public sedition is extremely rare in China, a country which keeps a tight grip on nearly every aspect of its 1.4billion citizens’ lives, through censorship, surveillance and propaganda.

Self-censorship is also prevalent, as people try to be careful what they say to one another in public – either online or in person – for fear or reprisal or punishment.

China’s censors have been overwhelmed recently as they try to wipe images of blank sheets of white paper used by protesters in the growing number of demonstrations against President Xi Jinping’s zero-Covid policy from the internet.

The country is currently facing its largest anti-government protests since the Tiananmen Square massacre, with protesters in at least seven cities holding up blank sheets of paper to symbolise censorship.

Protesters hold up pieces of paper as a symbol against censorship and China's strict zero Covid measures on November 27, 2022

Protesters hold up pieces of paper as a symbol against censorship and China’s strict zero Covid measures on November 27, 2022

Protesters have taken to the streets of Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan and Nanjing in an unprecedented wave of dissent to demonstrate against President Xi, his oppressive Covid crackdowns and increasingly authoritarian rule.

Online discussions and news coverage of the demonstrations have now been banned, with security forces deployed to the streets of the country’s major cities last night.

Chinese football fans have even been streamed a censored feed of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, as communist authorities desperately try to stop images of large, unmasked crowds reaching the local population as protests rage against harsh Covid measures.

A comparison of footage from the Cup shows that the China Central Television (CCTV) broadcasting company has been intercepting vision from the tournament and doctoring crowd shots by using a 30-second delay.

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