Family Bonds, Civil Strife


On October 26, 2012, residents in the coastal city of Ningbo demonstrated to oppose the construction of a chemical project in the city by a subsidiary of China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation. Riot police were mobilized to disperse the crowds, and images of violent suppression were shared rapidly across Sina Weibo and other social media platforms. Protests continued over the weekend, however, and Ningbo officials announced late Sunday, October 28, that the project would be stopped. Protests, and the mobilization of security forces to contain them, are now a common occurrence in China (READ ABOUT recent protests in Shifang and in Nantong). The above cartoon, drawn by an unknown artist and shared on Tianya and Sina Weibo, captures very well the sense of protest and violent crackdown as a part of life in China today. On the left side of the cartoon, named “Father and Son,” an old man is shoved to the ground by a policeman in riot gear and beaten with a club. As he lies on the ground, the old man calls his son in some other distant place (the frames are labeled “Place A” and “Place B” separated by a box that says “10,000 li apart”): “Son, where are you?” he asks. On the right, the old man’s son, dressed up in full riot gear, has apparently just beaten a protester who now lies prone on the ground behind him. “Dad, I’m out on a job right now,” the son says. “What is it?”

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