Xi Jinping’s Concessions to Recent Protests May Signal Coming Regime Collapse

David Chu David Chu Olivia Li Olivia Li
January 17, 2023Updated: January 18, 2023

News Analysis

From the “White Paper Revolution” to the “Fireworks Movement,” from the workers’ protests at a pharmaceutical factory in Chongqing to the workers’ protest march at a biotech company in Hangzhou, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has uncharacteristically backed down and made concessions.

Analysts have suggested that the Chinese have begun to shake off their fear of the CCP and that the regime is likely to collapse in 2023.

On Jan. 7, thousands of employees staged a protest at Zybio, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company in the Dadukou District in Chongqing City. The protest was a result of the sudden layoff of nearly 8,000 employees, who hadn’t been paid their wages since being dismissed.

The company is a manufacturer of COVID-19 antigen test kits.

Videos posted online show angry workers demolishing boxes of COVID-19 test kits, vandalizing the company’s offices, and clashing with police carrying riot shields. Protesters threw plastic boxes, water bottles, and cones at police, who ran from protesters—a rare occurrence in China.

In the end, the authorities were forced to compromise, and the head of Dadukou District came forward and promised that workers would receive their unpaid wages, bonuses, and severance pay. It was a total victory for the protesters.

On Jan. 6, a similar protest erupted in Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, as ACON Biotech Corporation suddenly announced the suspension of its business and laid off 2,800 employees. The company forced employees to sign a resignation agreement and only gave them a subsidy of 1,600 yuan (about $237). Moreover, some temporary workers were unable to get their wages.

The protesters confronted the police and shouted, “Pay back our money.” In the end, the local government negotiated with them and promised to subsidize each worker with 3,000 yuan (about $444).

Fireworks Revolution

In Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, thousands of people broke through a police barrier and gathered by the statue of Sun Yat-sen, a former president of the Republic of China, on New Year’s Eve.

The crowd presented flowers and released balloons in front of the statue to express their discontent with the current ruling CCP, as well as their yearning for freedom and democracy.

In Luyi County, Henan Province, people ignored the regime’s ban on fireworks on the night of Jan. 2, leading to clashes between the police and the citizens.

Videos circulating on social media showed that as police were arresting violators, a large crowd of people surrounded police vehicles, demanding the release of those arrested. They pushed and shoved the police. Some young people then began to smash the police cars and front windshields. One police vehicle was overturned.

The “Fireworks Revolution” also broke out in Chongqing City and several other cities in the provinces of Henan, Shandong, Hebei, Jiangsu, and Guangxi.

This kind of confrontation between the public and law enforcement was unimaginable in the past. It appears that the Chinese people are no longer afraid and have begun to use various opportunities to challenge the CCP’s authority.
​​​​
After this series of defiant events, the CCP didn’t retaliate as it had in the past but chose to back down.

Many regions, such as Beijing, Shandong Province, and Liaoning Province, relaxed the “fireworks ban” to varying degrees. In particular, the Xi’an City Municipal Police Bureau issued a notice requiring the police to “enforce the law flexibly” and “refrain from confrontation with the public or to cause negative police-related public opinion” when dealing with people who set off fireworks and firecrackers.

Current Situation May Rapidly Change

China expert Heng He told The Epoch Times on Jan. 9 that the results of the “White Paper Revolution” and the “Fireworks Movement” have helped the public to see the weakness of the ruling regime. That is to say, “the CCP can be defeated, or at least people are able to force it to give in,” Heng said.

“This is what the CCP has been trying hard to avoid for so many years, but this time, it finally failed to do so.”

Deng Haiyan, a freelance commentator, said in an interview with The Epoch Times on Jan. 10 that the outbreak of these protests at the beginning of the new year reflects a change in the mentality of the Chinese people after they’ve reached a critical point. That is, they’re no longer afraid.

“More and more people are coming forward to express their discontent and resistance in various ways,” he said. “When more people realize that many share this same mentality, it will not be easily extinguished.”

Speaking of the CCP’s concession, independent writer Zhuge Mingyang told The Epoch Times on Jan. 13 that the CCP is facing questions about its legitimacy as never before.

“From the perspective of the international environment, the CCP is no longer in the same situation as during the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. In fact, the global anti-communist alliance has already formed for some time,” Zhuge said.

“The CCP has never been isolated like it is now. Domestically, the complete failure of the anti-pandemic policy, coupled with the fact that Xi Jinping hasn’t accomplished a single thing since he came to power, has brought the legitimacy of the CCP’s governance into unprecedented question.”

Zhuge further explained that in such a climate, the regime doesn’t dare to kill the people, and in order to survive, it can only back down.

“This concession will, in turn, stimulate people’s spirit of resistance. As the pandemic worsens, more and more protests will likely break out around the country. In the face of multiple pressures from home and abroad, the CCP is likely to collapse this year and completely withdraw from the stage of history.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

David Chu is a London-based journalist who has been working in the financial sector for almost 30 years in major cities in China and abroad, including South Korea, Thailand, and other Southeast Asian countries. He was born in a family specializing in Traditional Chinese Medicine and has a background in ancient Chinese literature.
Olivia Li is a contributor to The Epoch Times with a focus on China-related topics since 2012.