Protests against China’s strict covid measures failed to materialize on Monday as the Chinese 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. 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.
In Hong Kong, dozens of people gathered in the city’s central business district. Some held up blank sheets of paper in solidarity with the victims of last week’s Urumqi fire in Xinjiang region that triggered the unrest.
While the police tactics seemed to avert the kind of mass protests that spread across China over the weekend, there were demonstrations of solidarity in other parts of the world, including in London, Sydney and New York, where a vigil is planned at Columbia University and at the Chinese consulate later on Monday.
The US dollar and Treasuries ceded earlier gains fueled by a dash to safety, even as equity futures slid and oil tumbled on prospects of the unrest growing.
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