Street protests is such a last century thing that so many people in this day and age find it pointless and borderline cringe
Internet didn't exist in 1989 so people had to go out of their way to march on to the square so that their voices can be heard. but in 2022 there are much easier ways to articulate your message to the authorities or to the public than holding a handwritten paper for hours in a cold winter night. the idea of peaceful protest is quickly becoming obsolete, If you want to take it to the street, you better go on a riot to smash things, otherwise it serves little purpose.
this is why many Chinese didn't believe these rallies are genuine and spontaneous, which led their conclusion to America the usual suspect. These rallies looked perfectly fine in Hongkong, because the Hongkongers kind of got stuck in their 20th century “glorious past” similar to the Americans, so this style of street protests fits them. But in mainland China somehow it just seems odd