Washington: As United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken prepares to start his trip to China, activists around the world urged him to keep 'Human Rights' as his top priority on the agenda, Jianli Yang writes in The Hill.

The writer states that he hopes Blinken, in his meeting with the Chinese officials, will demand the release of young men and women, who were arrested because of the recent peaceful demonstrations.

Many men and women were detained for leading a peaceful protest against the government, popularly known as the 'Blank Page Movement'.

US Secretary is expected to travel to China in early February for continued discussions related to one of America's most complicated and consequential relationships, however, no official announcements have been made as yet.

Jianli Yang, a former Tiananmen Square protester and political prisoner of China, is the founder and president of Citizen Power Initiatives for China and author of 'For Us, the Living: A Journey to Shine the Light on Truth'.

The protests began with people by expressing their frustration over the Chinese Communist Party's draconian 'Zero-Covid' policy and quickly evolved into a movement demanding broader freedoms.

Freedom is, first and foremost, important for their personal lives. Moreover, they represent the best of today's China and its brewing changes, Yang writes, adding that fighting for their freedom is both moral and strategic.

The writer also said that Chinese President Xi Jinping has changed his politics from a dictatorship to one of gamesmanship. Last year, he started out by making a political gambit revolving around two numbers, zero and 5.5, placing bets on Zero Covid and economic growth of 5.5 per cent.

He tied these goals to his purported 'wisdom, greatness and correctness', to the legitimacy of his continuing rule, and even to the superiority of China's system of 'socialism with Chinese characteristics'.

After securing an unprecedented third term as China's top leader at the 20th National Congress, Xi thought to change the system but the ensuing Blank Page Movement has tarnished his image and narrative by underscoring his staggering policy failures leading, in turn, to growing demand to instate a new leader and revamp China's failing political system.

Although there is no independent polling in China, under Xi's rule the global public opinion of China has fallen precipitously. Anecdotally, the fear and respect that Xi once commanded domestically are dissipating as well, reported The Hill.

Xi is not accustomed to losing. He will surely try to retrieve any lost ground by accomplishing two feats -- first, he will 'go all out' to boost China's economy. He is trying to rebuild his image as a 'great and wise leader' who knows best. But to stabilise China's economy, he must first stabilise China's international relations -- starting by thawing China's icy relations with the US, Yang wrote.

Second, he will try to stoke fear in his CCP comrades and the Chinese masses. He can hardly survive in a political ecosystem where citizens no longer fear him, nor the CCP regime. To reinstate political terror, he is bound to punish the leaders of the Blank Page Movement -- although he did reverse his Zero Covid policy, as the movement demanded, he writes.

The Blank Page Movement is the first nationwide expression of discontent and political demands in China since the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

According to the writer, the strong appeal by Blinken to free the young people detained will be extremely important.