Thousands of Chinese workers clash with the police in protest against the state repression under the cover of COVID-19
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 28 March 2020, www.thecommunists.net
On Friday, 27 March, thousands of Chinese workers clashed with the police at the border of the provinces Hubei and Jiangxi. Video clips circulating in Chinese social media show violent confrontations with riot police starting at 8.00am in the morning and continuing until late in the afternoon. Several police cars were overturned and at least seven police officers injured. Popular outrage seems to have been so massive that some police from the province Hubei joined the protesters and attacked with them the police from Jiangxi.
The Stalinist-capitalist dictatorship in China has imposed for a long time massive restrictions on the freedom of movement of its citizens from one province to the other. This is why Chinese workers who are employed in another province are called “migrants”. These restrictions have been massively enforced since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.
Hubei is home of around 60 million people. Its capital, Wuhan, has been at the centre of the Corona Virus crisis. The regime has put its citizens under a draconic lockdown regime until recently.
As the regime now claims that it has brought the spread of the Corona Virus under control, it has started to relax the travel restrictions on Wednesday for citizens of Hubei outside of Wuhan City. However, they are only allowed to leave their province as long as they possess a “green code” to certify that they are in good health (which is difficult to get from the bureaucratic authorities).
Furthermore, citizens of Hubei face massive discrimination in the rest of China. The clashes broke out when police of Jiangxi did not allow citizens of Hubei to cross the bridge across the Yangtze River to leave their province. Even the Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily acknowledged: “…it is undeniable that some places, intentionally or not, have set up obstacles for Hubei migrant workers to return to their posts and hold prejudices against them.” (South China Morning Post: Coronavirus: police, public clash as border reopens between Hubei and Jiangxi provinces, 28 March 2020, https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3077393/coronavirus-police-public-clash-border-reopens-between-hubei-and)
The Stalinist-capitalist dictatorship is evidently nervous about these clashes. Global Times – the regime’s English-language mouthpiece – had to admit that “the incident triggered a large confrontation.” It also was forced to report that these clashes “have sparked internet outrage. Some netizens accused Jiujiang police of discriminating against Hubei people because of the COVID-19 pandemic while some denied that.” (Global Times: Hubei and Jiangxi investigate police conflict on provincial border, 27 March 2020, https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1183980.shtml)
The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) fully supports these protests. We have stated numerous times that the regime – not only in China but all over the world – uses the COVID-19 crisis as a pretext to increase the state repression. Wuhan – a major working class city of 11 million people with a large manufacturing industry – was the centre of important popular protests in summer 2019 against the horrible air pollution. In addition, the regime in Beijing was terrified about the mass uprising in Hong Kong and the possibility of provoking similar events in other Chinese regions.
The RCIT has emphasized in numerous documents that the mass lockdown of the whole population – in China as well as globally – is a counter-revolutionary strike against the working class and the popular masses. It is primarily not motivated by health considerations but by political calculations. If the regimes would be primarily interested in containing and eliminating the pandemic they would focus on free mass testing of the population, in expanding the resources of the health sector and in providing free medical treatment to those infected.
But in fact the main interests of the capitalist regimes are to paralyze, terrify and confuse the workers and oppressed, to launch a gigantic wave of austerity attacks, mass sackings and factory closures as well as to massively build-up the state repression apparatus. Since the global capitalist system experiences its worst economic slump since 1929, the ruling classes are planning to use the threat of the Corona Virus for months and years in order to advance these goals.
The RCIT has therefore warned from the beginning that the COVID-19 crisis is utilized by the ruling classes as a cover for a major global counterrevolutionary offensive. They are launching huge authoritarian attacks on democratic rights like the mass lock downs and the suppression of the right to demonstrate and to assemble.
Unfortunately, the opportunistic left has largely capitulated to this pressure of the ruling classes around the world. Many of them even share the admiration of various capitalist politicians and journalists for the draconic methods of China’s Stalinist-capitalist regime. However, the mass protests in Hubei demonstrate that the working class is not prepared to accept the state repression.
The situation is highly symbolic: while large sectors of the so-called left support mass lock down and state repression under the cover of the COVID-10 crisis, the workers and oppressed rebel against these attacks of the Bonapartist regimes. In other words, these two are on the opposite sides of the barricades. The place of revolutionaries can only be on the side of the popular masses fighting for democratic rights.
We repeat our call to all authentic revolutionaries to enter in serious discussion and collaboration with the RCIT. The mass riots in Hubei are a harbinger of future events. We need to politically and organizationally prepare for such revolutionary explosions which will take place not only in China but in many places around the world. There is no time to lose! Join the RCIT in building a Revolutionary World Party!
International Bureau of the RCIT
* * * * *
The RCIT has published numerous statements and articles on the COVID-19 crisis of which several have been translated into different languages. They are all collected at a special sub-page in our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/collection-of-articles-on-the-2019-corona-virus/
In particular we draw the attention of readers to these two documents:
COVID-19: A Cover for a Major Global Counterrevolutionary Offensive
We are at a turning point in the world situation as the ruling classes provoke a war-like atmosphere in order to legitimize the build-up of chauvinist state-bonapartist regimes
Manifesto of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 21 March 2020
Act Now because History is Happening Now!
A call to all revolutionary organizations and activists to join forces against the global counter-revolutionary offensive under the cover of COVID-19
Open Letter of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 26 March 2020