Discontent over China’s zero-Covid suppression policy came to a head last weekend in a series of unprecedented protests across the country. The civil disobedience – remarkable just for the fact it was happening at all in a state where such behaviour is rarely tolerated – seemed to have been smothered by police by the start of the week. Even so it revealed to the world signs of a hitherto unseen fracture in China’s totalitarian political system.
The magazine’s cover design this week reflects the power of blank paper and the abstract creativity used by protesters to express their feelings in such an oppressive environment. As one Beijing resident said: “We launched the blank paper remembrance movement. Do we say anything on the paper? No. All accusations are in our hearts. All thoughts are in our hearts.”
Helen Davidson and Verna Yu report on the protests, their background and where they might lead – though diplomatic editor Patrick Wintour cautions that China’s strongarm leader, Xi Jinping, is unlikely to tolerate damage to his reputation for long.
From one Cop to another: hot on the heels of the recent climate conference comes this month’s global summit on biodiversity, which is being held in Montreal. To set the scene, biodiversity reporter Phoebe Weston explains how the damage done to the natural world is a tale of decline spanning thousands of years. Can delegates at Cop15 seize their chance to change the narrative?
With five Grammy awards off the back of four albums spanning everything from folk to jazz and pop, the British multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier is a global phenomenon. But despite being feted by music royalty including Stormzy, Chris Martin and Herbie Hancock, the 28-year-old has kept a relatively low profile. Global music critic Ammar Kalia takes a trip into Collier’s colourful, polyharmonic world of quarter-tones and non-standardised pitch.