China’s most powerful leader, Xi Jingping, now has the opportunity to rule the country indefinitely after lawmakers abolished his presidential term limits. This change is an effort by the leader to stay in power and resist the rhetoric of a collective leadership. The 64-year-old appointed himself to head bodies that oversee national security, finance, economic reform and other major reforms.
However, Chinese students who live overseas are not pleased with Xi’s presidency for life. Many in China also do not agree with his presidency, but they don’t have the freedom to protest, given China’s strict social media rules and regulations.
But the overseas students have that freedom and are using it to make the world know they don’t approve Xi as their president. Anti Xi posters written in Chinese and English were discovered in American universities including Arizona State, Connecticut, Georgia, Emory, Indiana, Purdue, Indianapolis, Michigan State, Irvine and Syracuse. They were also spotted in some overseas schools including the London School of Economics, Australian National University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Posters and thoughts from University of California at Irvine @UCIrvine. "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." - Thank you, and take care. Voting in 8 hrs, let's fight till the very end. #IDISAGREE #我不同意 pic.twitter.com/y9u1AisFUn— Xi's Not My President (@STOPXIJINPING) March 10, 2018
Posters @ Arizona State University - W.P. Carey School of Business. Thank you ! We really appreciate your support. Take a photo of the posters you see and tweet or send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are in this together. #IDISAGREE #我不同意 pic.twitter.com/FKpYHPWCIp— Xi's Not My President (@STOPXIJINPING) March 4, 2018
Chinese students at Australian and Dutch universities also joined the protest. Posters rejecting Xi’s rule with hashtags #NotMyPresident and #IDisagree have been used by these overseas students to voice their difference of opinions that are silenced back home.
The so called vote might be over, yet the fight is still on. Posters spotted at Amsterdam with Amsterdam Centraal Station in the background. Look closely you can see AMSTERDAM on the roof. Dankjewel voor je steun! #ISTILLDISAGREE pic.twitter.com/Pujp1sCnbg— Xi's Not My President (@STOPXIJINPING) March 11, 2018
So far, we have been trying to keep this campaign anonymous. We already have the privilege to work and study in a free country and we do appreciate that. As for political asylum, we believe that it should be exclusively for people who are really in need.— Xi's Not My President (@STOPXIJINPING) March 8, 2018
In light of recent events and political climate in China, we do not recommend the domestic use of our posters by residents in mainland China as of Mar 5th 2018. Protect yourself to fight another day.— Xi's Not My President (@STOPXIJINPING) March 5, 2018
These students are at a high risk of facing arrest and professional repercussions, such as not getting jobs, when they return to China.
According to the Chinese government, the presidential rules changes were necessary for the country’s stability.
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Reuters, Jason Lee