Penn State Chinese Students Rally in Solidarity With White Paper Revolution Protests in China | Some 50 students gathered at Penn State's main campus on Dec. 2 for a candlelight vigil in memory ...

Penn State Chinese Students Rally in Solidarity With White Paper Revolution Protests in China

Penn State Chinese Students Rally in Solidarity With White Paper Revolution Protests in China

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Some 50 students gathered at Penn State’s main campus on Dec. 2 for a candlelight vigil in memory of the victims of the Urumqi fire that sparked protests in China.

Under a lit Christmas tree in front of the Allen St. Gate, the students held white papers to show solidarity with the so-called White Paper Revolution.

They shouted their demands in both Chinese and English to protest against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Some students also put up posters and slogans on a nearby fence with words in English and Chinese.

“No more zero COVID, we need to eat,” “No more lockdowns, we need freedom,” “No more lies, we need dignity,” “No more Cultural Revolution, we need reforms,” “No more dictators, we need voting,” “No more slaves, we need citizens.”

One by one, students placed flowers in front of the slogans and lit candles in memory of the victims in Urumqi.

The White Paper Revolution was sparked by a deadly apartment fire in the Chinese city of Urumqi on Nov. 24 that killed ten people and injured nine others.

Many blame strict COVID-19 measures for delaying rescue efforts at the apartment building, which had been in lockdown for months.

Former ‘Little Pinko’

Lucy (a pseudonym), a fourth-year Penn State student from mainland China, told The Epoch Times how she now saw the evil of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

“It’s a long story,” Lucy said. “I have been thinking about CCP for the longest time.”

Lucy said when she was still in China, she was constantly being told by her teachers, her families, her neighbors, and everyone “how amazing our government is,” and “how they help us to grow,” “the government has made so many sacrifices, helps people to have a better living.”

Lucy said she never doubted it, even after she arrived in the United States. “When I have a conversation with my classmate. They were saying that the Chinese government is a dictatorship. And I always defend them every time, or I don’t say anything. But I don’t believe anything they say,” she said.

However, in the past few years, Lucy and her friends have frequently discussed China’s rulers, and she heard many different opinions.

“And I think it changed me when COVID started,” she said.

Lucy explained that after the pandemic began, the CCP implemented its Zero COVID policy and did everything possible to make the numbers look good.

“They didn’t care what happened to people,” Lucy said. “I’ve heard that a lot of people have died.”

Lucy said her brother, who was in college in China, couldn’t see their mom for four months.

And her best friend, who was also in college, currently cannot even get outside food. “She can’t get takeout food. She has to eat in the dining hall in college and can’t even get out of their dorm. They’re stuck in their dorm at their school and doing online courses,” she said.

Lucy said that more and more videos are coming out of the heavily sealed areas. She said she watched videos of heavily pregnant women and older people who died because they couldn’t get to the hospital in time. She also saw a video of a mother who jumped off a building because of depression while her daughter looked on.

All of this made her think deeply.

“Now I am standing up for the people,” she said. “I will be fighting for the end of the CCP. I’m standing with the people because I know that they are not the government for the people by the people. They are the government for themselves.”

Lucy encouraged more Chinese students to speak out.

“We all know what’s happening in China,” she said. “We are a young generation, and the future belongs to us. I know it’s hard, and people are worried that if I get out, it will involve my family. If I do this, someone will come looking for me. I know it’s scary, but we must stand up for ourselves,” Lucy said.

“Trust me. You’re not alone.”

‘An Awakening Process’

Wallace (a pseudonym), a graduate student from mainland China, told The Epoch Times that he came to the rally to protest against the communist regime.

“The communist government is terrible,” said Wallace referring to the CCP’s human rights record.

“A lot of people are being deceived,” he added, in reference to the regime’s control of the media in China.

Wallace said he hopes to protest as much as possible so “To make our voices heard.”

Wallace said the protesting students in mainland China and overseas might have many different views.

Some students only protest the regime’s zero-COVID policy, while others hate Xi Jinping but are not opposed to the CCP.

“This is an awakening process, an awakening to human rights and freedom,” he added.

At the rally, a girl wearing a mask silently handed out leaflets that detailed the Urumqi fire, the zero-COVID policy, and how the CCP uses the Chinese Students and Scholars Association overseas to spy on Chinese students. A bolded paragraph on the flyer read: “Yes. We are not safe here either. They are watching us. If we are found, our families will become hostages.”

Another graduate student from mainland China, Selma (a pseudonym), said she came to protest because of the many human rights violations in mainland China due to the zero-COVID measures.

“I want Chinese people to be treated like adults,” Selma said. “My parents were randomly blocked from leaving their home for a week to half a month without formal notice,” she said.

Someone just showed up and said, “You’re blocked. You can’t leave your house. I think that’s ridiculous,” she said.

Showing Solidarity

Kenan, an international student from Hong Kong, faced the crowd and repeatedly shouted, “Free China, free Hong Kong, free Xinjiang, free Tibet.”

In tears, he told the gathering that from the streets of Hong Kong to here in the United States, he hoped more people would join the protest against the CCP.

“I’m happy to see that people in China finally have the courage to stand against the Chinese Communist Party. And just like Hong Kong did three years ago,” Kenan told The Epoch Times.

“I hope to support them in the fight for freedom. And together, I believe we can bring down the Chinese Communist Party,” he said.

Kenan said he felt grateful to see mainland Chinese students joining the protest crowd.

“I’m amazed that so many of them have come. And I know it takes a lot of courage to step out of their comfort zone and participate in this defense,” he said.

“And I hope more of them can join us and not just come out for this one. If I’ll probably keep standing up against the CCP, keep on resisting until the day we got freedom.”

Kenan offered a message to students from mainland China.

“I understand that there are a lot of risks, but I hope you will have the courage to stand up because if you don’t stand up now, more people will die at the hands of the CCP,” he said.

“One day, a tragedy may happen to you. So, if you don’t want tragedy to happen to you or those around you, then the best way to resist is to defeat the CCP and get freedom and democracy. You and your descendants will not have to suffer this tragedy again, and your descendants will always thank you for your courage.”

Hao and Guan from Taiwan were among the protesters holding white papers.

Hao said he didn’t expect that so many Chinese students would have joined the vigil.

“My impression is that most often, they don’t care about politics or their rights and liberty. But today, I’m really happy to see that there are a lot of people here who actually care about what is happening in China,” he said.

Guan said he was concerned that protest momentum in China will be lost.

“We’re already seeing the Chinese Communist Party changing their policy response to the protests, and they’re looking to ease up the lockdown. There’s the worry that after the softening up of the policy, people will stop protesting,” Guan said.

“The road to democracy takes more than just a week,” he said.

“I feel like people should be more patient, and people should keep coming out instead of just, oh, it’s softening up, so it’s okay,” he said.

Jennifer Yang Follow

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