Students put up posters at Queen Mary in protest of Chinese President Xi Jinping

‘I just need to do something because I love my country’

Students have been putting up posters at Queen Mary, University of London with messages against Chinese President Xi Jinping.

One of the posters read: “Elections NOT Dictatorship, Citizens NOT Slaves.” Others have similar messages reflecting a rare protest in Beijing against Xi Jinping’s strict zero-Covid policies that have led to intense surveillance, citywide lockdowns, and people being taken away to mass quarantine centres in 2022.

A Chinese student involved in the poster protests told The London Tab: “I just think I need to do something because I love my country.” A friend of theirs who also put up posters said they hope “this poster movement can tell each other that we are not alone”.

Posters put up at Queen Mary

According to a tally by CitizensDailyCN, an anonymous Instagram account posting sightings of the anti-Xi posters, there have been put up at 348 universities and colleges as of 28th October, including Queen Mary and 14 other London unis.

A student who wants to be referred to as K and his friend, who are from Hong Kong, are among the students involved in the protest at Queen Mary.

K put the posters up at night while wearing a mask out of fear of being identified. He told The London Tab: “It was stressful knowing that QM has a Confucius Institute and many students from the mainland. Many might side with the government”.

He was disappointed that some of the posters were torn down, but he was comforted that other people had joined him in the protest. He plans to continue putting up posters and has prepared stickers as well.

Amongst various posters put up at Queen Mary, one had a picture showing the Beijing protest against the zero-Covid policies and writing in Chinese saying: “One person’s bravery should not go without echoes.” Another contained the text from the banners put up in Beijing and a quote from George Orwell’s book 1984 “We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness”.

The Beijing protest against these policies and the poster campaign it inspired came at a politically sensitive time as China’s Communist Party Congress, held every five years to decide the party’s top leadership, is just concluding. This year’s meeting saw President Xi ushered into an unprecedented third five-year term after the two-term limit was removed in 2018.

The Chinese embassy in London has been contacted for comment. We have received no responses by the time of publishing this article.

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