As authorities step up their crackdown, China’s protests against Covid restrictions that erupted over the weekend appear to have subsided.
Numerous cities have reported having a significant police presence, and some meetings either didn’t happen or were put down.
People reportedly had their phones inspected and were interrogated.
However, abroad Chinese have persisted in protesting, doing so in at least a dozen cities worldwide.
After a fire in a high-rise building in Urumqi, western China, killed 10 people on Thursday, protests last weekend grew more intense.
Local authorities contradict the widely held belief that Covid restrictions prevented locals from fleeing the fire.
As a result, tens of thousands protested for days in the streets, calling for an end to Covid lockdowns and, in some rare cases, calling for President Xi Jinping to step down.
But as police encircled the rallying area on Monday, Beijing’s planned protests were postponed.
Along the major demonstration route in Shanghai, substantial obstacles were put up, and police arrested a number of people.
According to social media footage that the BBC has verified, a tiny protest that occurred on Monday night in the southern city of Hangzhou was similarly rapidly suppressed and participants were quickly detained.
In contrast, dozens of protestors in Hong Kong congregated in the city’s center and on the campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong to demonstrate their support with the protesters in the People’s Republic of China.
Additionally, a sizable crowd gathered in front of Chinese embassies in important global capitals like London, Paris, and Tokyo as well as universities in the US and Europe.
Local demonstrations, according to one analyst, are unlikely to wind down anytime soon since people are “not being summoned out to the streets in a controlled sense… they migrate between social media and the street.”
However, Drew Thompson, a senior research fellow visiting from the National University of Singapore, emphasized that it was also crucial to keep in mind that Chinese police had “tremendous capacity” and “a strong ability to regulate” these protests moving forward.
On November 27, 2022, in Shanghai, police personnel block Wulumuqi Street, which is called after Urumqi in Mandarin. This is the location of demonstrations against China’s zero-COvid policy that took place the previous evening in response to a deadly fire in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region.
On Sunday, police in Shanghai blocked Wulumuqi Street to put an end to demonstrations against China’s zero-COvid policy.
According to reports, authorities were stopping people and examining them to see if they were using Telegram and Twitter, two apps that are prohibited in China, as well as virtual private networks (VPNs).
A woman who attended a rally in Beijing informed the news agency AFP that she and five of her companions had received phone calls from the police asking for information about their whereabouts.
In one instance, after a friend’s phone went unanswered, a police officer showed up at their house and inquired about if they had gone the protest site, emphasizing that it was a “illegal assembly.”
It is unknown how the identity of the individuals present could have come to the attention of the authorities.
Additionally, police have recently detained journalists who have been covering the protests. One of its reporters was briefly held on Sunday before being released, according to the news agency Reuters.
The same evening, BBC reporter Ed Lawrence was detained for several hours while reporting a protest in Shanghai. Asserting that China’s handling of the protests was “shocking and unacceptable,” UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that his incarceration was.
Since the weekend protests, censorship on Chinese social media sites has intensified in an effort to prevent people from viewing and discussing them.
Tens of millions of posts have been removed from search results, and media outlets are choosing to focus more on the World Cup and China’s space accomplishments than Covid.
The protests have not received any official acknowledgment or response from the Chinese government.