There’s the greatest popular uprising in China since Tienenmen square. It’s unbelievable. Phrased another way, it’s hard to believe, given the censorship and disinformation from that regime.
But it’s also true that a great number of Chinese people have cell phones with cameras on them and there’s just so many people filming so many protests and posting them in such clever ways, it might be impossible for them to be stopped, even by the million or so official censors and thought police in that country.
It really is thrilling to watch — and despairing. My hopes were so high back in 2019 when freedom lovers in Hong Kong marched peacefully in the streets in defiance of Beijing’s plans to bring Chinese laws into that free city. I thought maybe their people power would win. No. They were crushed. Stalin said power came from the barrel of a gun. You can have all the protests you like, but if you’re up against a brutal, totalitarian regime, they just don’t stop based on conscience.
Remember, China is a basic dictatorship that doesn’t need to worry about rules. Ask Justin Trudeau.
He was the one who invoked martial law and it was Trudeau who just last week said that protests calling for political changes are immoral. Until he tried to correct himself.
I’ve seen different explanations for what sparked these protests. A 'Zero-Covid' policy where whole cities are locked down because of a handful of cases. Remember, Covid these days is really not much more than the common cold — which, by the way, has always been a coronavirus.
But these authoritarians have used 'Zero-Covid' as a way to control everything, anything. To force everyone to constantly test themselves or submit to testing, and be banned or permitted based on their personal health — or at least whatever some “test” said.
There have been massive protests at Apple's iPhone and computer factory. Did you know that Apple computers — so hip, so fashionable, so exquisitely liberal — use Chinese labour to put together your phones and computers?
And what does Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, have to do to get China to permit them to operate there? Well, Tim Cook has disabled Apple functionality to help the police crack down on the protests. He turns of functions on phones, like one called AirDrop, which lets you share documents with people who are physically near you — great for sharing things during protests. Tim Cook is on the side of Xi Jinping, against the people. So much for that old Apple ad, from so long ago.
Now Apple really is Big Brother. The company is musing about banning Twitter from its App Store, because Elon Musk is talking too much about free speech. Apple is on China’s side. So is Google, of course, and so is Facebook. And a reminder that Mark Zuckerberg actually asked Xi Jinping to name Zuckerberg’s own child. What kind of weirdo creep does that — outsources naming their own child to a foreign dictator? Xi Jinping is a murderer and a tyrant, but even he was creeped out by it and refused Zuckerberg’s request.
I’ve been watching this protests unfold — on Twitter, but mainly on TikTok itself. Which is bizarre. Because TikTok doesn’t appear to be censoring those videos in North America. Of course, it censors them in China. Maybe it wants to see who is watching them in North America — TikTok really is a giant spy machine that tracks everything you do or say, it even tracks your gestures and eye movements. It spies on you. So maybe it’s a giant honey trap.
In today's episode, I’d like to show you a great number of shorts videos from TikTok – so make sure you watch the above video. Some of them are are short as ten seconds long. Some of them have only Chinese writing on them — of course I don’t know what they mean. I can’t speak to the veracity of them; they might be government propaganda — they come from a government-controlled social media app — but I can’t believe that China would want the world seeing this kind of uprising.
Some of these have very amateur or even childish writing on them — that’s just how they are. That’s citizen journalism in 2022, from a foreign country. Some of these might, for all I know, be from a different city or even a different year. But this seems real; and it certainly seems more real to me than any reports from the CBC or the Toronto Star.
There are interesting things in the footage — there are people holding up blank signs, and shouting, “you know what I want to say!” And actually being arrested for that. That’s how they get around some online censorship, I think. They’re trying to stay ahead of artificial intelligence, which is how most censorship is done “at scale”. You couldn’t censor a billion or more users with people, you’d need machines, and machines can learn. But perhaps people are still quicker.
This is fascinating. And the fact that it’s happening at the hands of Chinese people is amazing. Because it certainly hasn’t happened because of anything Joe Biden, Justin Trudeau or Jacinda Ardern or any other pro-Chinese politicians in the West has done.
GUEST: Franco Terrazzano from Taxpayer.com on his latest news release regarding Trudeau giving Quebec a special deal on carbon tax