Mon, 30 Jan 2023

Beijing [China], December 1 (ANI): Chinese police has been visiting people's homes in the middle of the night and searching their phones for banned apps, The Washington Post reported, adding that it has also been summoning people for questioning at police stations and keeping them there for over 24 hours.

As per the news report, Chinese authorities have been quietly attempting to 'stamp out' the protests that have spread across the country over the past week. Protests in China erupted in response to apartment building fire in Urumqi last Thursday.

Police have tracked down protesters and recommended them not to attend more gatherings, The Washington Post reported citing demonstrators, relatives of detained protesters and lawyers. The daily also spoke to people involved in six cases of protesters being questioned or detained.

The lawyers have claimed that they were aware of over 20 encounters. All the people spoke on the condition of anonymity fearing reprisals by authorities. Chinese officials have not directly spoke about the protests that have been taking place against the Chinese Communist Party's 'Zero-Covid' policy.

Chinese people have raised demands for restoration of free speech, the rule of law and reforming the country's one-party political system.

According to The Washington Post, Yaqiu Wang, China researcher for Human Rights Watch, said that China's tactics include "most brutal to the less discernible" that is applied to people on the basis of their circumstances.

"The tried-and-true tactics range from the most brutal to the less discernible, applied to people based on their circumstances," The Washington Post quoted Yaqiu Wang as saying.

"The authorities have already resorted to harassment and intimidation of those who went to the protest scenes," Yaqiu Wang added.

One woman who, along with her husband participated in the protest in Beijing claimed that they heard someone knocking at their door some 26 hours later. She said, "It was 3:50 a.m. Who else could it be but the police?"Recalling the details, the 26-year-old woman revealed that her husband told her to hide before he opened the door. She added that he was taken away and did not come back for more than a day later.

She wonders if the officers came to their house as she and her husband showed their faces at the protest or they drove towards it. The woman did not reveal details about the questions her husband was asked in custody. The woman said, "We just want to live like people with freedom and rights."Two other residents in Shanghai told The Washington Post that their colleagues and relatives were interrogated by the police. A woman was reportedly forced to go to the police station after she was reluctant to let them search their phone.

Yang, a 27-year-old who was part of a weekend rally in Dali, claimed that two police officers came to his house on Tuesday, as per the news report. According to him, three of his friends were told by their school to provide details regarding their Sunday activities in writing or they will be expelled.

Authorities at several universities in Beijing and Guangdong have announced that students will be sent home early for the semester break as part of precaution against Covid-19.

Free buses were arranged for taking students to transport hubs at Tsinghua University. (ANI)

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