Chinese authorities have begun inquiries into some of the people who gathered at weekend protests against COVID-19 curbs, three people who were at the Beijing demonstrations told Reuters, as police remained out in numbers on the city’s streets.
In one case, a caller identifying as a police officer in the Chinese capital asked the protester to show up at a police station on Tuesday to deliver a written record of their activities on Sunday night.
In another, a student was contacted by their college and asked if they had been in the area where events took place and to provide a written account.
“We are all desperately deleting our chat history,” one Beijing protester who declined to be identified, told Reuters.
“There are just too many police. Police came to check the ID of one of my friends and then took her away. We don’t know why. A few hours later they released her.”
Beijing’s Public Security Bureau did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry said rights and freedoms must be exercised within the framework of the law.
Simmering discontent with stringent COVID prevention policies three years into the pandemic ignited into broader protests in cities thousands of miles apart over the weekend.
Mainland China’s biggest wave of civil disobedience since President Xi Jinping took power a decade ago comes as the number of COVID cases hit record daily highs and large parts of several cities face new lockdowns.