In Ñspel: The Guardian view on the future of China’s unrest: more complex than it seems

Shanghai residents scuffle with staff dressed in protective clothing on Wednesday, in an image obtained from social media. Photograph: Reuters
Śañhî rezidnts scufl wɖ stāf drest in pṛtctiv cloɖñ on Wnzde, in an imij obtend fṛm sośl mīdia. Foṭgraf: Rôtrz

Ɖ Gardịn vy on ɖ fyćr v Ćîna’z unrest: mor complex ɖn it sīmz

(Transcription of a Guardian editorial of 30 Nov. 2022)

A bîṇri rīdñ v ɖz rmarcbl ziro-Covid protests dz nt hlp enwn unḍstand ɖer sgnificns

Wnzde 30 Nvmbr 2022

Amñ ɖ Coḿnist reṭric clevrli rīprṗst bî Ćîna’z anti-ziro-Covid pṛtstrz z a frêz ɖt Mǎ Tsetŭñ imploid: a sngl sparc cn start a prẹrifîr. Ẃn a p’liticl sistm z so rijid, obzrvrz cn īẓli fōl prei t wn v tū cnflictñ tndnsiz. Ɖ frst z t sīz upn eni sgnificnt unrest az ɖ frst crac in ɖ eḍfis, ẃć cd brñ ɖ hol sistm dǎn – az ẃn ɖ deʈ v Mhaṃd Bụzīzi prisiṗtetd ɖ Aṛb sprñ. Sins sć c’lapsz r yẓ́li astoṇśñ at ɖ tîm, īvn f xplicbl in retṛspect, ɖ tmteśn t sjst ɖt ɖe riyli cd b cmñ ɖs tîm cn b hard t rzist.

Ɖ uɖr tndnsi z t lc at ɖ unlîcli trîumf v ɖ Coḿnist parti n cnclud ɖt eni dsnt z nt onli dūmd bt fytîl. Ɖ parti hz spent yirz studiyñ ɖ dmîz v ɖ Sovịt Yńn t enśur ɖt it dz nt sufr ɖ sem fet. It ruʈlisli cruśt ɖ stydnt-léd protests v 1989, in ẃć miłnz, nt mirli hundṛdz, tc t ɖ strīts. It lrnt fṛm ɖt xpirịns tù, rfînñ uɖr mīnz v rpreśn. It z a sîn v hǎ liṃtd ɖ p’liticl spes hz bcm ɖt ɖz protests, atacñ a poḷsi ataćt t Śī Jinpñ bî nem, n in a fy cesz īvn cōlñ fr hiz dparćr, sīm so utrli astoṇśñ. Unlîc in 1989, ɖr r no sînz v fiśrz at ɖ top, dmestic s’kṛti spendñ dworfs īvn Ćîna’z hefti militri bujit, n tecṇlojicl advansz hv md sveḷns īvn mor xtnsiv.

Ɖo hevi p’līsñ n snsrśp me hv sìn of unrest fr nǎ, ɖ nyz ɖt ɖ formr līdr Jañ Tsemin hz daid me compḷcet matrz. Ɖ pasñ v līdrz hz ofn trigrd muvmnts, n it z hardr fr ɖ parti t śut dǎn mōrnñ fr a sīńr līdr ɖn a demnstreśn: in 1989, Hu Yǎbañ’z deʈ prisiṗtetd ɖ proriform protests ɖt bgan in Tiannmn Sqer. Mr Jañ dd nt injô ɖ sem popylr simṗʈi; amñ uɖr ʈñz, h wz instṛmntl in ɖ 1989 cracdǎn. Bt cmeṃreśn cn b yzd az a rbyc t cuṛnt oʈoṛtiz n fr sm, at līst, h apirz t stand fr a tîm v c’lectiv līdrśp rɖr ɖn stroñman rūl, ẃn Ćîna wz injoyñ rapid ic̣nomic groʈ n oṗnñ p t ɖ wrld, in starc contrast t ɖ picćr undr Mr Śī.

A bîṇri rīdñ v ɖ posbiḷtiz v ɖz protests – victorịs, or stamt ǎt n ɖus pôntlis – canot capćr ɖer importns. Ɖr z no rīzn t b’liv ɖt ɖ sinicl tec on ɖz ivnts, az nt onli flītñ bt isnṣ́li mīnñlis, z mor akṛt ɖn a nîīv b’lif ɖt ɖe wl ultiṃtli līd t a scrapñ v ɖ ziro-Covid straṭji, or īvn a fri n deṃcratic Ćîna. Nɖr vy capćrz ɖ cmplex̣ti v sośl muvmnts.

Ẃɖr ɖ protests riignît in ɖ cmñ dez or munʈs, n ẃɖr ɖe hv an obvịs n imīɉt impact on ɖ parti n its poḷsiz, r nt ɖ onli meźrz v ɖer importns. Ɖe hv boroud tactics fṛm Hoñ Coñ’z s’prest uprîzñ (ɖ blanc śīts v pepr) n slognz hv ivoct Octobr’z wn-man protest agnst Mr Śī at Sitoñ Brij in Bêźñ, ẃć at ɖ tîm sīmd utrli qixotic. In ɖ loñ trm, ɖe me hlp t opn p an oltrṇtiv viźn v Ćîna fr yuñ ppl ispeṣ́li, n criet a sns v ɖ posbiḷtiz fr sośl ax́n in ɖ fyćr. Sparcs d nt olwz start a confḷgreśn: ɖe me, hvr, cindl a flem ɖt z nt īẓli xtnḡśt.

Instroduction to Ñspel

"House by the Railroad," Edward Hopper, 1925

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