Why Does China Lack an Opposition Leader Like Navalny

Addressing vulnerability and promoting security
Mar 11, 2024 | Freedom House

Thepopular Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has died in prison, but evenhis tragic career would have been impossible in China, suggests Yaqiu Wang inhis Freedom House article. In China, despite government propaganda thatportrayed Navalny as a criminal who espoused extremism, many on the country’shighly censored internet were deeply touched by his vision, conviction, andcourage. The lack of a well-known leader will not extinguish ordinary people’sinnate yearning for freedom. In China, however, citizens are monitored throughtheir mobile phones, facial-recognition cameras and vehicle number-platereaders on the street or enforced real-name registration for every service theyuse. Police across China are deploying technology that purportedly harnessesthis massive trove of surveillance data to predict unwelcome acts and thwartthem before they happen. So long as basic freedom is denied to them, members ofthe Chinese public will remain frustrated and hungry for unlikely heroes.



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