Leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Xi Jinping made a speech on Sept. 3, the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, which caused a stir on the Chinese internet.
Xi spoke about five things that “Chinese people will never agree to,” which ignited uproar among netizens who believed Xi had no right to speak on behalf of the Chinese populace.
Meanwhile, some China commentators analyzed that Xi was sending a subtle message to the international community about their growing criticism of the Chinese regime.
At an event commemorating the anniversary, Xi said, “the Chinese people will never agree to any attempt by anyone or any force to distort the history of the Communist Party of China and vilify the nature and purpose of the Communist Party of China.”
On Sina Weibo, a social media platform similar to Twitter, Chinese netizens said they were never solicited for their opinions, and thus, Xi had no right to represent them. One user posted: “I’m being ‘represented’ [without consent] again!”
Others commented that Chinese people would not dare to disagree with the Party, given its tendency to crack down on dissent.
“If they do not agree, they may be charged with the crime of ‘provoking trouble,’” one user commented. This vaguely-defined charge is often used against human rights lawyers and dissidents.
Some Chinese based outside China also weighed in on Twitter. “This is holding the Chinese people hostage again,” one user posted in Chinese. Playing off Xi’s words, he lamented the lack of freedoms in China: “If you want freedom of speech, it [the CCP] will never agree. If you want historical truth, it will never agree. If you want to have general elections, it will never agree. If you want true democracy, it will never agree. If you want the CCP to step down, it will never agree.”
Message to Outside World
Xi also said, “the Chinese people will never agree to any attempt by anyone or any force to separate the Communist Party of China from the Chinese people and antagonize them.”
This is an indirect response to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent speech, according to China affairs commentator Tian Yun.
In a major policy speech on July 23 calling on governments to unite in defending against Beijing’s threats, Pompeo said, “we must also engage and empower the Chinese people—a dynamic, freedom-loving people who are completely distinct from the Chinese Communist Party.” Following his speech, state-run media Xinhua published a 30,000-word-long article attacking Pompeo. This shows that Pompeo’s words hit home and caused fear in the CCP, Tian said in a news analysis published on the Chinese-language Epoch Times, adding that Xi’s recent rhetoric appeared to be a reaction to Pompeo’s words.
Xi also said, “the Chinese people will never agree to anyone or any force who attempts to impose their will on China through bullying, change the direction of China’s progress, and obstruct the efforts of the Chinese people to create their own beautiful life.”
Tian wrote that this statement was a deliberate distortion of the United States’ recent countermeasures against the Chinese regime’s aggression, by painting the United States’ actions as hostility toward the Chinese people.
He added that Xi’s words were also a warning to foreign governments that Beijing would play by its rules, and that they should accept that reality.