2017 Xiaodongese Protests

2017 Xiaodongese Protests
Part of Normalisation
300px
Xiaodongese tanks enter Rongzhuo to break up protests
DateJanuary 15, 2017 - January 18, 2017
(3 days)
Location
Rongzhuo, Baiqiao, Shenkong, Henjintao, Kuoqing, several more cities and towns
Caused by
GoalsNew elections, democratic reforms, end of corruption, freedom of the press
MethodsPeaceful protest, sit-in, occupation of public property, strikes
Resulted in
  • State of emergency declared.
  • Protesters and striking workers arrested or executed.
  • Police and army officers killed by protesters.
  • Protest leaders arrested.
  • Western economic sanctions and arms embargoes on Xiaodong
  • Opposition groups banned.
  • Civil liberties and rights restricted.
Parties to the civil conflict
Lead figures
Casualties
Death(s)~500-900 civilians killed

The 2017 Xiaodongese protests were a series of pro-democracy protests and strikes in Xiaodong staged between the 15th-18th January 2017 before they were dispersed during a crackdown by government authorities.

The protests were started when the ruling Xiaodong Regeneration Society won the 2017 general election under suspicious circumstances. The ZSH which had ruled Xiaodong since 1934 had become unpopular under the governments of Yuan Xiannian and Xi Yao-tong thanks to endemic corruption and high youth unemployment, which in 2015 saw massive student protests and the creation of the radical-democratic Alliance for Democracy in Xiaodong. The 2016 election saw the ZSH lose its majority in the State Presidium leading to a hung parliament, necessitating new elections in 2017. The leadup to the election saw the United Democratic Appeal for Xiaodong and the Alliance to lead in the polls, but the election itself saw the ZSH win a majority. Allegations of electoral fraud led to a series of protests demanding the government resign and new, internationally monitored elections be held. These protests were accompanied by strikes by working people and trade unions. In Rongzhuo over 2 million turned out to protest, whilst smaller protests were held around the country. Protesters called for new elections, democratic reform and amongst workers better working conditions.

After several days of protesting - during which Xiaodong hosted a bilateral summit with Tuthina - on the 18th January the government sent tanks into Rongzhuo to crush protesters killing over 200 in a day, arresting protesters and striking workers' and labelling several opposition groups including the Alliance as terrorist groups. A special session of the State Presidium - boycotted by opposition parties still legally allowed to operate - saw Yuan Xiannian appointed State Chairman where he was given special powers and announced a state of emergency. Over the next few days, over 500 more people were killed by authorities as part of a new process of "Normalisation."

Background

Xiaodong had been ruled by the Xiaodong Regeneration Society since the Corrective Revolution in 1934 and introduced multi-party elections in 1988 after a sustained pro-democracy movement from 1984-1988, culminating in the Orchid Revolution. However, from 1988-2016 the Xiaodong Regeneration Society under successive leaders Qian Xingwen, Han Guanzheng and Yuan Xiannian retained power with opposition groups such as the United Democratic Appeal for Xiaodong being politically weak.

In 2014, an attempt to amend the constitution by the Yuan Xiannian government saw thousands of students protest against the government, calling for democratic reform with groups such as the Democracy Forum and Alliance for Democracy in Xiaodong being formed promoting radical reform and direct democracy. The government's poor handling of the protests led to a fall in support, which was exacerbated by an austerity budget the same year. The Regeneration Society subsequently started to poll around the same level as the UDA leading to Yuan's colleagues to voice criticism at his leadership. In May 2016 Yuan agreed to step down from the post of First Minister and handed power to Xi Yao-tong, although Yuan remained leader of the Regeneration Society. In June 2016 Xiaodong underwent a stock market crisis that saw thousands of savings wiped out overnight. This resulted in even more discontent towards the Xiaodongese government which increasingly appeared to be corrupt, out of touch and authoritarian.

Corruption

Corruption has been long prevalent in Xiaodongese politics, often being referred to as the "Dang Wangluo" (party network) in reference to how only those with access to the Xiaodong Regeneration Society can receive special privileges. The expansion of the security services and increased intervention into the economy under Yuan Xiannian's rule led to an increase in corruption surrounding the Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Finance whilst prominent Xiaodongese politicians (such as Jiang Zhongyu and Xi Yao-tong) have been accused of profiting off of privatised companies.

In 2012 a corruption scandal in East Thianchin (in which Governor Chu Sian-cheng which accused of privatising government property in return for financing for his political party) resulted in the fall of Chu's government and early elections which Chu lost. As such some groups such as the Society for the Dismantlement of Corruption called for people to vote against the government to fight corruption as had been done in East Thianchin.

Former First Minister Yuan Xiannian during his term was accused of authoritarianism

Authoritarianism

Whilst Xiaodong had abandoned single-party rule in 1988 following the Orchid Revolution, it has since then not developed into a liberal democracy, with most commentators defining it as a dominant party illiberal democracy. Democratic reforms planned under Qian Xingwen were stalled due to the Third Duljunese-Xiaodongese War and scrapped altogether under Han Guanzheng. During the mid-1990's reformists such as Li Jingyao became more marginalised as conservatives such as Qiao Shengzhuo gathered more support. This culminated in the 2002 Regeneration Society Plenum when reformist candidate Jiang Zhongyu was passed over as Han's successor in favour of Yuan Xiannian.

Under Yuan there was a perceived deterioration in the democratic system in Xiaodong, due to the jailing of opposition leader Feng Zhengguo for corruption, a hostile attitude to anti-government press and centralisation of power in the hands of the executive branch. Yuan himself during his rule openly spoke of support for a "managed democracy" and a "Xiaodongese approach to human rights". In 2015 the Esquarian Human Rights Monitor reported over 43 dissidents had disappeared under Yuan's rule.

The Xiaodongese Human Rights Monitor in 2016 stated that the democratisation pursued since 1988 has been ineffective due to such reforms amending rather than overturning the system created by Lu Keqian in 1935. The XHRM stated that Xiaodong's political system was not designed for multi-party democracy, as evidenced by the role of the Examination Secretariat which has to officially approve of delegates in the State Presidium but is appointed by the Council of Ministers. The XHRM also highlighted that under Yuan conflict between him and State Chairman Jiang Zhongyu had resulted in both men to appoint allies of themselves in state institutions creating a highly polarised state prone to infighting and appealing solely to sectional interests.

2016 elections

The 2016 Xiaodongese election saw the Regeneration Society lose both its majority and a plurality of the popular vote with the opposition UDA getting 300,000 more votes than than the government (albeit the government got a plurality of seats). The election brought to light sharp regional differences, with over 60% of the south voting for the opposition and over 60% of Shenkong and Rongzhuo voting for the government. The overall result was a hung parliament with neither the pro-democracy bloc (the UDA and the Alliance for Democracy) nor the government getting a majority.

Convention held that the Chairperson of the State Presidium of Xiaodong should give the largest voting bloc the chance to form a government - as the pro-democracy bloc had 105 seats to the Regeneration Society's 100 convention held they should've been given the opportunity to form government. However, the State Chairman Jiang Zhongyu who was nearing the end of his term allowed Xi Yao-tong to form a caretaker government until a new State Chairman was elected which prompted criticism from the opposition. The first and second rounds of the State Chairman election saw neither the Regeneration Society's candidate Yuan Xiannian and the UDA/Alliance candidate Chen Qianshi gain the necessary support amongst presidium delegates, prompting the State Presidium to be dissolved by acting State Chairman Yang Zhengming and new elections scheduled for January 2017.

2017 election

The runup of the snap election in 2017 was marked by the UDA leading in the opinion polls, with the combined UDA-Alliance vote being over 50% of the vote. Prior to the election, the State Presidium agreed to delay it by a week due to fears Senria was going to hack the election. The move was heavily opposed by most UDA and Alliance delegates who accused the Regeneration Society of deliberately stoking up anti-Senrian sentiment to garner votes. The campaign itself was more muted than the previous one, but saw tensions between pro-government and opposition supporters.

The results of the election saw the Regeneration Society get a majority of seats with 122 with the UDA losing 18 seats and the Alliance 2. The Regeneration Society also got just under 16 million votes both in the single-member and multi-member districts whilst the UDA got just under 12 million.

The elections were seen by some as being subject to electoral fraud. Polling had consistently put the UDA first prior to the election, whilst at the 2016 election the Regeneration Society got 13 million votes and the UDA 14 million, with the extra 2 million the Regeneration Society gaining and the UDA losing being seen as suspect. There was also reports of shortages of ballots in Huyuan, Taixin, Gaoming, Shenqu and Wuxintai as well as powercuts in Duljun, all more likely to vote for pro-opposition candidates. In Sunhaitai, Tongguan and Gaoming over 120% turnout was reported whilst there were also reports of electronic voting machines automatically registering all votes for the Regeneration Society. There was also ballot stuffing caught on camera in Rongzhuo and reports of ballots that voted for the opposition being discovered to be shredded.

Protests

2017 Tuthinan-Xiaodongese Summit

Crackdown

Aftermath

Normalisation

Reactions

International

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  • Template:Country data Ankoren - Foreign Minister Hüseyin Dündar urged for a peaceful solution to the crisis in Xiaodong if it threatened to escalate, whilst urging major world powers to restrain themselves from interfering in Xiaodongese domestic affairs, warning that "any strict interference would violate Xiaodongese sovereignty, which itself would be a crime".
  •  Aucuria - Aucurian President Pantaleimonas Uspelevičius released a short statement criticizing the Xiaodongese government, maintaining that "the situation can only escalate if Xiaodong insists on the continued use of force", and urged the Xiaodongese government to "cease all violations of human rights" and re-run the election with international monitoring.
  •  Katranjiev - Queen Elis condemned the crackdown and the detention of a journalist working for Slevdovatel, criticizing the crackdown and arrest as "the gang rape of the voice of the people." Outgoing Prime Minister Magarit Ogynan urged all Katranjians to leave Xiaodong as soon as possible, and requested that the journalist be repatriated to Katranjiev.
  • Template:Country data Lecistan - President of Lecistan Łukôsz Grzéskowicz released a short statement via Twitter, describing the events as "brutality and repression", adding that "the people of Lecistan can testify first-hand to the importance of freedom of speech and protest, and the need of fair & open elections", referring to the rigging of the October 2015 Lecistani general election and ensuing Second Lecistani Civil War.
  •  Luziyca - The government of Luziyca condemned the crackdown, calling it an assault on democracy. President Sera Svensson urged that fresh elections be held under international supervision, and also urged all Luziycan citizens to leave Xiaodong. In addition, an arms embargo was put into place against Xiaodong.
  •  Namor - Foreign Minister Pao Venzong criticized the crackdown as "heavy-handed" and called on the Xiaodongese government and opposition to enter a peaceful dialogue. Days later, President-General Antelope Shohai commented on the protests; while he did not mention Xiaodong by name, he urged developing states to embrace political reforms, calling the deficiency in civil and political rights in the developing world "unfortunate."
  •  Senria - The government of Senria loudly criticized the repression of protests in Xiaodong, with the country's Foreign Affairs Minister, Yuki Takamatsu, releasing a statement urging "all civilized nations to wholeheartedly and immediately condemn the shedding of innocent blood by the Xiaodongese regime". A formal statement released by the office of Prime Minister Hayato Nishimura stated that "for all of Xiaodong's insistence that it has changed since the dark days of the 1920s and 1930s, the recent actions of the Xiaodongese regime prove the blatant hypocrisy and the continued totalitarianism of the Xiaodongese regime... it is immensely unfortunate that, instead of listening to the voice of the people, the Xiaodong Regeneration Society has continued in the bloody and violent path of the Xiaodong Expansion Group." Later, on Twitter, Nishimura described Xiaodong's actions as "utterly disgusting". Some Xiaodongese protest leaders- including Kang Yongqing of the Alliance for Democracy in Xiaodong- fled to Senria via Tinzhan or Tuthina to escape possible jailing by Xiaodongese authorities; a statement from the Senrian government declared that Senria would grant political asylum to "anyone else fleeing this horrific repression in Xiaodong".