Chinese riot police in white hazmat suits clashed with people in southern China’s Guangzhou city on the evening of Nov. 29, according to online videos seen by Reuters.
In one Twitter video, dozens of riot police holding shields advanced in formation over what looked like torn-down lockdown barriers, while objects were thrown in their direction. Later, police were seen escorting people in handcuffs away from the site.
Another video showed people throwing objects at the police. Finally, a third video showed people running away after a tear gas canister landed among them and spewed fumes.
Social media posts indicated that the clashes were sparked by local lockdown restrictions, according to Reuters.
The bigger reason behind the protests is mounting public discontent over the Chinese communist regime’s unrelenting zero-COVID policy, which subjects people to repeated testing and confinement to their homes.
SuppressionIn the face of the largest display of civil disobedience CCP leaders in Beijing have seen in decades, Chinese officials have begun tracking down protesters, and even arresting them.
“One of my friends who posted a video of people calling for Xi to step down was taken away by police last night,” a Beijing resident who asked not to be identified told Reuters.
“Other friends who posted similar videos had to go to the police station. Most were kept for a few hours and asked to sign a paper promising they won’t do that again. And most have now deleted their posts.”
“He said my name and asked me whether I went to the Liangma river last night… he asked very specifically how many people were there, what time I went, how I heard about it,” the protester said.
“We don’t want masks, we want freedom. We don’t want COVID tests, we want freedom,” one of the groups chanted, according to Reuters.
The Chinese regime’s top law enforcement body, the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, issued a statement on Nov. 29 warning of what it called “hostile forces,” following a meeting presided over by its Party secretary, Chen Wenqing.
“We must resolutely crack down on infiltration and sabotage activities by hostile forces in accordance with the law, resolutely crack down on illegal and criminal acts that disrupt social order and effectively maintain overall social stability,” it said.
“The Chinese officials used implicit language, but they also conveyed a clear message of warning,” Hu wrote. “The protesters must have understood it. If they repeat those protests, the risks will increase severely.”
ConcernsLawmakers from around the world have expressed their solidarity with the protesters in China.
Meanwhile, rights groups have called on Chinese authorities to respect the right to peacefully protest.
“The Chinese government must immediately review its Covid-19 policies to ensure that they are proportionate and time-bound. All quarantine measures that pose threats to personal safety and unnecessarily restrict freedom of movement must be suspended.
“The government also needs to promptly, effectively, and thoroughly investigate the Urumqi fire, to avoid a reoccurrence, bring justice to the victims and their families, and show the people they are responsive to their grievances.”