Arab Spring = Chinese Winter… What are the effects today for China?

In James Fallows’ piece, Arab Spring, Chinese Winter, he writes about the connection between the events of the 2010 and 2011 Arab Spring and Jasmine protests. The Arab Spring protests were a series of pro-democratic protests starting in Northern Africa and then spreading to the Middle East. The point of the protests were for the people to fight back from the oppression and infringement on civil liberties of the people by their separate governments. And, in fact, many of these protests in these areas were quite successful in doing just that. Many of the authoritarian regimes of those countries had to resign or fled in opposition to these ideas. The article, though, also talks about the Jasmine protests, which were a similar series of pro-democratic protests in China. However, while these protests did put a spotlight on some fallacies of the Chinese government, they were not as successful as the Arab Spring protests.

Since this was about 7 or 8 years ago, are these protests still going on in China? Do the people still want freedom?

Well, according to Radio Free Asia, they are. In Hong Kong, which is a somewhat independent Chinese territory, pro-democracy protests happen annually. Hong Kong has been passed from country to country, but China has agreed to give the territory a high level of autonomy. However, any changes Hong Kong attempts to make to the political system can be vetoed by Beijing. As one can imagine, this causes immense frustration with the pro-democracy advocators, because nothing can ever really be changed. With President Jinping becoming more and more authoritarian as time goes on, the protesters have become more wary every year. However, it is refreshing to see some fight back from the citizens.

Fallows, James. “Arab Spring, Chinese Winter.” The Atlantic. 2011.

RFA. “Hong Kong Marks National Day With Protests Over Loss of Freedom, Democracy.” Radio Free Asia, 1 Oct. 2018,

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