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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Chinese police intervene to stop zero Covid demonstrations and track down protesters.

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Police deployed in China to quell Covid-zero protests and at least one person after demonstrations of civil disobedience unprecedented since President Xi Jinping took power a decade ago, according to social media videos was arrested. There were also reports that some protesters were questioned by phone by authorities after attending rare street rallies in cities across the country. The arrest was reportedly made late Monday in the city of Hangzhou. A social media video that could not be independently verified showed hundreds of police officers occupying a large public square on Monday night and preventing people from gathering. As of Tuesday morning, in Shanghai and Beijing, police were still patrolling areas of the cities where some groups on Telegram’s social media app suggested people should gather again. Their presence on Monday evening and all night resulted in no further meetings.

There were reports that police officers asked for their cell phones to make sure they were using a virtual private network (VPN) and the Telegram app used by weekend protesters. He said VPNs are illegal for most people in China, but the Telegram app is blocked from the Chinese internet. People also shared instructions on Telegram on how to protect their phone data from random police checks, including apps and settings for quickly wiping data. What to do if you get caught – This little guide will help you avoid awkward situations later.” In Shanghai, near where protests took place over the weekend, bar workers told AFP news agency they were ordered to close at 10 am. Midnight local time for “disease control”. A small group of policemen stood in front of every subway exit.

The AFP journalist saw police arrest four of them and then release one, throughout the day. The White House said on Monday that U.S. President Joe Biden is closely monitoring unrest in China by protesters. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby declined to explain Biden’s response to protesters’ demands but said the president stands by their rights. A wave of protests has spread across several Chinese cities since Friday in the wake of a building fire in Urumqi, Xinjiang, that killed 10 people. Much of the area had been in lockdown for over three months and people were blaming the lockdown as the cause of the deaths. The protests show growing dissatisfaction and skepticism about the ruling Communist Party’s zero-coronavirus efforts. The Xi Jinping government has implemented a policy of lockdown, repeatedly testing millions of people, and prolonging quarantines on international arrivals to limit the spread. A series of incidents related to policy enforcement, including a bus crash that left 27 people in quarantine, and numerous suicides and other deaths linked to lockdowns and restrictions, have tested people’s tolerance.

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