02/21/2024, 15.37
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Director who documented anti-regime protests in Shanghai arrested

Going by the nickname Plato, he posted in November an hour-and-17-minute video on YouTube titled "Urumqi Middle Road," named after the street where protesters gathered. The events in the video began spontaneously, but soon turned into a wider protest movement against the Chinese government.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – The director who produced a documentary on white paper protests in Shanghai was arrested on 5 January for “provoking trouble" and taken to the Prosecutor's Office last Sunday.

Going by the nickname of Plato, he uploaded an hour-and-17-minute video on YouTube in November last year, on the first anniversary of the demonstrations, titled "Urumqi Middle Road", named after the street in Shanghai where protesters gathered.

The video documents the course of the protests, which was sparked by an incident in the city of Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang autonomous region.

On 24 November 2022, a fire broke out in a building, but people inside were not allowed to escape because of the "zero covid" policy still in force, causing the death of at least 10 people.

Protests broke out shortly after, morphing into a wider movement against the Chinese regime. In one case, a man called Peng Lifa (who went missing thereafter) displayed a series of banners critical of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Plato said he saw events firsthand in Shanghai on 26 November 2026. “This is the first time I've participated in a political event in China," he added.

His video, which has been censored in China, contains "personal content shot that day" and footage shot before and after the protests, to show how Beijing's crackdown has left people increasingly resentful.

The director also sought, through the film, to “document my personal experience and feelings during the protest" as well as understand the dynamics of internal conflicts in China.

“The answer is clear to everyone," he explained; “the more the government misleads, forgets and blocks, the more we have to speak out, remind, and remember.”

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