In China, protesters for democracy are holding a white sheet of paper to symbolise their lack of freedom of speech as a stand-in for all the things people cannot say.
The first use of this symbol goes back to the Hong Kong protest in 2020 and ever since, it has been used in many countries worldwide.
It presents authorities with a difficult dilemma: arrest people for saying literally nothing at all or allow a simple act of resistance to proliferate unchallenged.
In the social media age, the blank sheet has the added benefit of being difficult for online censors to quickly block on a large scale, without accidentally censoring many other images or videos.
Despite their bravery, the Chinese protesters probably don’t stand a chance and many will be deported, locked up or, in the worst case, killed. We can only look in awe at these people, who willingly risk their lives to stand up for each other, for democracy.
We, from EuropeansUnited, will promote the use of this symbol during protests, to show we stand by our Chinese brothers and sisters. It’s one of the few things we can do, to show we know and we care.
It also reminds us of the dangers of authoritarian regimes, and the fact there is still massive censorship in the “free, but not so free” West on social media. This censorship is done by social media companies who have a monopoly, and based on “official information”. In other words, plain old state censorship disguised as “war on disinformation”. Ironically, this is exactly the term used by the Chinese government.
So people all over Europe: Let us use this empty white paper as a symbol in all protests! Wherever you come from, left or right, whatever or whoever you represent, let’s unite against oppression, let’s rise up worldwide. Show the world we stand up for democracy, we stand up for each other!
Spread this message wherever you can! Together we can do this and bring a message of hope to this dark world.
UNITED WE STAND!