A twitter account named @stopxijinping was created on March 1, 2018 according to reports, as posters with “Not my president” written over Xi Jinping’s photo started to appear around US campuses ahead of China’s National People Congress vote on term limits on March 11.
Posters supporting the campaign popped up in universities around the US, and by March 5 the protest Twitter account posted photos of posters at the London School of Economics in London.
“Given Chinese government’s reach and willingness to retaliate against any who exercise dissent, this is a bold move”
These were followed by photos from the University of Sydney, the University of Melbourne, Monash University and Curtin University in Australia, The University of British Columbia in Canada and the Chinese University of Hong Kong among others. Around Europe, the protest spread from The Netherlands to Poland.
On March 11, the NPC voted to scrap term limits for the president and the vice-president of China, but the protest only gathered pace.
The office of Florida senator Marco Rubio retweeted Foreign Policy‘s article about the protests, calling them out as “a bold move”.
“Given Chinese government’s reach and willingness to retaliate against any who exercise dissent, this is a bold move,” its tweet said.
Security concerns are a priority for the protesters, who are afraid they will face problems upon their return home.
“We’re facing retaliation from the Chinese Government once we’re exposed because there’ll be jail time without due process,” a student, who wished to remain anonymous, told Australian radio program and website Hack.
“We’re not Australian residents and we’re definitely going to turn back to China and that’s a huge security risk.”
The PIE contacted the organisers for an update to the situation, however, they declined to comment further citing safety concerns.