China Police Move In to Prevent More Covid Zero Protests
Protests against China’s stringent Covid regime failed to take place Monday night, as authorities deployed a heavy police presence in the capital and other major cities to deter a repeat of the weekend’s demonstrations.
With evidence of a clampdown on the streets of Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing and elsewhere, crowds largely stayed away, despite plans to gather disseminated on social media. Shopping malls were closed early, and passersby were regularly stopped for identity checks.
In Beijing, the university and residential district of Haidian was buzzing with police vehicles, and riot police took over a theater as an operations base. In parts of downtown Shanghai, officers were spotted on virtually every corner.
Police were reportedly checking people’s smartphones, looking for apps banned in China like Twitter and YouTube, as well as Telegram and other messaging programs. An unverified screenshot circulating in Chinese social-media networks ordered officers in Shanghai to check the phones of people on the streets, especially college students, for a raft of “foreign” apps, including the Virtual Private Network, or VPNs, used to get around China’s Great Firewall.
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