A HEROIC protester has disappeared after unfurling banners over a highway branding Xi Jinping a “traitor dictator” and a “thief”.
The protester – widely dubbed Peng Lifa on social media – has been hailed as the “new tankman,” and his rare and dramatic protest comes as Xi prepares to be nominated for a third term.
Many have compared him to the lone man standing in front of a tank in an iconic photograph following the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre of pro-democracy protesters.
The video showed the banner being unfurled over the Sitong Bridge in Beijing – where China’s strict Covid lockdown has also been denounced and continues to be enforced despite widespread anger.
Disguised as a construction worker to evade authorities, photos of the banners were widely circulated before police came for him.
He was seen being put into a police car and has not been seen since, human rights activists say.
His banners harshly denounced Xi and called for his downfall.
“Students are on strike, workers are on strike, depose dictator and state thief Xi Jinping,” a banner said.
Another said: “We want to eat, not do coronavirus testing; Reform, not the Cultural Revolution.
“We want freedom, not lockdowns; Elections, not rulers. We want dignity, not lies. Be citizens, not enslaved people.”
Wang Dan, one of the leaders of the protests, referred to Peng as “the new tank man.”
“This isn’t the first time someone has come forward and it won’t be the last,” he said.
Peng’s message has since surfaced in at least eight Chinese cities, according to pro-democracy Instagram account VoiceofCN, Bloomberg reports.
These include Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou as well as Hong Kong.
The protest was seen by scores of Beijing residents, who filmed and photographed it before sharing it online.
But soon the ruling party’s huge and well-oiled censorship machinery kicked into action.
Keywords and accounts associated with the protest were quickly deleted from China’s tightly controlled social media platforms.
Searches for “Haidian,” the district where the banners appeared, and “hero” were all blocked.
There were also reports from social media users speaking out about the incident having their accounts shut down.
The 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing is set to award Xi a third five-year term, making him “president for life.”
dr Alexander Korolev of the University of New South Wales said the “zero Covid” policy had sparked anger in China.
“The Chinese authorities are very quick and effective in suppressing protests, reacting very quickly and killing everything before it grows into something bigger,” he said.
“But China has been in this absolutely insane Covid-19 lockdown, which is absolutely unscientific.
“The Covid Zero policy is insane – it is not possible for a country of this size to achieve Covid Zero.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6484726/china-new-tank-man-protester-vanishes-president-xi/ China’s heroic new ‘Tank Man’ protester DISAPPEARS after humiliating President Xi ahead of leader’s ‘coronation’