Miles Yu on China uprising: Neither crackdown nor protests were about Covid

by WorldTribune Staff, December 5, 2022

The China-wide demonstrations against the Chinese Communist Party and supreme leader Xi Jinping shocked the world and were called a protest against the regime’s brutal Covid lockdown policies.

A meme that symbolizes the 2022 China protests: Two professors from Fudan University, who will likely soon be arrested, standing in front of a phalanx of People’s Armed Police. / Chinese Internet

But neither the crackdown or the massive uprising was about the coronavirus according to Miles Yu, the former top China aid to then Sec. of State Pompeo. It’s about the battle between communism and freedom,  he said.

One CCP official warned protestors not to be confused by “foreign influence.” Yu noted in a OpEd for the New York Post. An angry protestor fired back from the crowd, “by foreign influence do you mean Marx and Engels?”

He cited another example:

Last Thursday, a street protestor in the hinterland metropolis Chongqing eloquently addressed a cheering crowd, “there is only one type of disease in the world — lack of freedom and poverty. We have it both in China!” After he quoted Patrick Henry “Give me liberty or give me death!” repeatedly, the police tried to arrest him, only to be repulsed by an angry crowd who promptly overwhelmed the fully armed police and rescued the protestor.

Yu a former contributing editor for, is Senior Fellow and director of China Center at Hudson Institute.

Xi’s Covid crackdown is motivated by totalitarian control, Yu said. The impact has been as monumental as it was unexpected.

“Blinded by this radical utopian vision, the CCP is consistently callous towards its people’s well-being, but this callousness has traditionally impacted more on migrant workers and the rural poor. This time, the Party’s all-encompassing COVID-Zero lockdowns have affected the property-owning and educated middle class and the rich, and this brings with it unintended consequences. Millions of Chinese people across the nation, from all sections of the repressed country, are now willing to risk imprisonment, torture, and even death to stand up to their oppressors.”

To those in the West who have blind faith in the inevitability of Chinese communism, Yu wrote that recent events is a wakeup call:

This national uprising disproves the prevailing pessimism in the West towards the possibility of substantial grassroots resistance to the CCP. We are now seeing that silence does not necessarily indicate capitulation to repression. The possibility of resistance is ever present, if only the opportunity presents itself.

There is no doubt that many of the people risking their lives today in the streets of Chinese cities were inspired by the “banner man” who, last month, unfurled banners on Beijing’s Third Ring Road with slogans such as “remove the traitor-dictator Xi Jinping,” “freedom, not lockdowns,” and “citizens, not slaves.”

Yu called on leaders in the West to stand firmly and with “zero ambiguity” on the side of the vast majority of Chinese people who do not align with or belong to the CCP. After all, he explained:

The Chinese people understand their regime better than anyone. Not only do they see the CCP for what it is, they look outward and see what China could be. The common street music among China’s protestors today was the battle hymn of the Hong Kong protesters three years ago that includes lyrics such as “do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men . . . it is the music of the people who will not be slaves again!”