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China responds to protests with heavy security deployment in Beijing and Shanghai

2022-11-28T17:21:37.628Z

The critical points of the demonstrations live a day of calm under intense police control The Chinese government does not seem willing to tolerate that the protests that are already spreading through various cities in the country continue to gain strength. The authorities have reacted this Monday with an intense police deployment in critical points of Beijing and Shanghai where the demonstrations against the iron covid zero policy of the previous day took place, one of the biggest sign



The Chinese government does not seem willing to tolerate that the protests that are already spreading through various cities in the country continue to gain strength.

The authorities have reacted this Monday with an intense police deployment in critical points of Beijing and Shanghai where the demonstrations against the iron covid zero policy of the previous day took place, one of the biggest signs of discontent in China during the government era of Xi Jinping.

In the capital, security forces and fenced off areas could be seen in the Liangma River area, where hundreds of people gathered on Sunday night shouting: "We don't want PCR, we want freedom!"

In the university neighborhood of the city, where some protesters had set a new call for this Monday afternoon, there was no sign of protests either, but there were numerous vehicles and police officers stationed on corners and monitoring subway exits, as this has been able to verify. daily.

The sharp cold of an icy city at the gates of winter, wrapped in the blue and red flashes of police lights, contrasted in this area with the symbolic scenes experienced the night before.

Some young people who participated in the protests on Sunday in the capital have been contacted by the police and threatened with arrest, according to a complaint from one of them to EL PAÍS.

“The police just called me,” he says.

“They have threatened me.

I have been asked questions, I have refused to answer.

They'll probably come after me sooner or later.

They have said they will."

According to this young man, many of his friends who were present on Sunday have received a similar call.

In Shanghai, the authorities have blocked access to some streets with barriers to prevent new concentrations and have asked the owners of cafes and restaurants in the area to close the premises.

The police have been claiming the mobile phones of those who dropped them on the street of Urumqi, which has become the epicenter of the protest, to check if they were using VPNs (virtual private networks), which allow them to bypass the Internet blockade that China imposes on its citizens, or messaging applications such as Telegram, used by protesters to organize.

A Beijing-based diplomatic source acknowledges that the protests have been a "surprise."

And he believes that they are probably the most "important" since those of Tiananmen, in 1989. Those of now, like those of then, have "political motivations."

In 1989 they began peacefully, which was roughly the tone on Sunday in Beijing.

But everyone knows what happened next in Tiananmen.

“The big question is will they have continuity,” she says.

There are many unknowns hanging in the air: whether people will continue to congregate, whether they will do so in large numbers and peacefully, whether the police will behave, whether they might lead to a change in the covid-zero strategy, or whether the authorities will decide to respond with forcefulness.

“What is clear is that the zero covid strategy is reaching its limit and that people are tired.”

At least two foreign media journalists were detained in Shanghai on Sunday.

The BBC and the British government have criticized the action of the police, who arrested and handcuffed journalist Ed Lawrence while covering the protests.

In a statement late on Sunday, the British chain maintains: “He was detained for several hours before being released.

During his detention, he was beaten and kicked by the police.

This occurred while he was working as an accredited journalist”.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's office has called the incident an "outrageous and unacceptable" act.

Police vehicles on the street of Urumqi, the epicenter of the Shanghai protests, this Monday. HECTOR RETAMAL (AFP)

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Monday at the foreign ministry's daily press conference that the BBC's statement does not reflect what happened and "is not true."

“According to the Shanghai authorities, the journalist in question did not openly display his foreign press card,” he added.

There is no official number of detainees in the country.

When questioned about widespread anger with the zero covid policy, the spokesman assured, according to Reuters agencies: “We believe that with the leadership of the Communist Party of China, and the cooperation and support of the Chinese people, our fight against covid-19 will succeed.”

The China Foreign Correspondents Club issued a statement stating that the organization is "very disappointed and frustrated by the increasing barriers imposed on foreign journalists working in China, and by the aggressiveness shown towards them by the policeman".

As reported by Reuters, one of its journalists was also held for about 90 minutes on Sunday night.

From the images that are being shared on social networks, it seems that the city with the most movement this Monday is Hangzhou (east of the country).

In the square in front of the Hubin Yintai In77 shopping center, some people have tried to congregate and, according to the videos that are circulating, there have been clashes with the police while people were being taken away.

Around 9:20 p.m. local time (2:20 p.m. Spanish peninsular time), a car stopped at one of the nearby intersections and turned up the volume of the song

Do you hear the people sing?,

from

Les Miserables

, an anthem of many popular movements in all the world.

When the vehicle has left, those present have begun to applaud.

More people have gathered at the West Lake, the best-known spot in this city of 11 million inhabitants.

An agent has publicly questioned a young man who was holding a white chrysanthemum in his hands and urged him to throw it away, according to various videos circulating at the time.

Since noon, messages have been spreading that Hangzhou flower shops ask anyone who buys white chrysanthemums to register their personal data.

China has surpassed the barrier of 40,000 covid infections this Monday, the highest number since the start of the pandemic almost three years ago.

And, while not a single mention of the protests appeared in the state media, the country's efforts to contain the pandemic occupy this Monday analysis and editorial pages of newspapers.

The subtlest nod is promises to refine the zero-covid strategy to limit the damage caused by lockdowns.

Numerous news outlets, including the Communist Party-owned

People's Daily

, urge “unwavering adherence” to the dynamic zero-covid policy, in their view, the “only correct path.”

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Source: elparis

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