Updated Nov 30, 2022 - World

Blinken: Chinese government’s repression of protests a “sign of weakness”

The Chinese government's efforts to suppress the ongoing, unprecedented public protests over the country's zero-COVID policies are a "sign of weakness," Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NBC News' Andrea Mitchell on Wednesday.

Driving the news: Chinese censors have hastened to delete social media posts and articles about the protests, even as internet users race to screenshot and repost content related to the protests.

  • Chinese authorities flooded protest sites in major cities on Monday and Tuesday in order to discourage gatherings, CNN reported.
  • Results for "blank sheet of paper" and "white paper" have been censored on the Chinese internet, according to the BBC.
  • China's Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission on Tuesday vowed to "resolutely crack down on infiltration and sabotage activities by hostile forces," AP reported.
  • "Political and legal organs must take effective measures to … resolutely safeguard national security and social stability,” it said in a statement.

What they're saying: Asked about the Chinese government's crackdown on protesters, Blinken said that China needs to find a way to deal with the COVID-19 virus that "also answers the needs of people."

  • "I think any country where you see people trying to speak out, trying to speak up, to protest peacefully, to make known their frustrations — whatever the issue is — in any country where we see that happening and then we see the government take massive repressive action to stop it, that's not a sign of strength. It's a sign of weakness," Blinken said.

Go deeper: How a blank piece of paper became the symbol of China's protests

Go deeper