This is an unusual gesture of defiance against Chinese leaders. Weakened by the economic slowdown, four banks in Henan province have frozen all cash withdrawals since mid-April, trapping thousands of small savers. Since then this situation has given rise to sporadic demonstrations.
To prevent new gatherings, local authorities were suspected last month of turning the health passes of a number of protesters red, banning all movement.
On Sunday 10 July, several hundred people demonstrated in front of a branch of the Chinese central bank in Zhengzhou, the capital of the province of Henan, according to several participants, who asked Agence France-Presse (AFP) to remain anonymous. The photos published on social networks show banners of denunciation “The corruption and violence of the Henan authorities”.
On the videos, the content of which cannot be independently verified by the AFP, demonstrators are violently arrested by plainclothes officers. Some protesters have swollen faces. The participants were “Beaten, injured and bleeding from the head. Even the disabled were violently beaten “one of them said.
Tracking with health subscriptions
Local authorities did not react immediately. Demonstrations in China are relatively rare, in a country where maintaining social stability is an obsession and where power generally crushes any protest in the bud. In desperation, however, some Chinese do not hesitate to take to the streets, despite the risk of arrest and trial.
In the past month, Henan authorities have been targeted after alleged manipulation of health passes to prevent further protests. The health pass is required in China to access most buildings, shopping malls, public places, but also some means of transport.
The vast majority of Chinese are happy to lend themselves to the game of tracking for health purposes, but rumors are troubled over a potential drift of this tool for surveillance purposes. Like the four Henan banks, other Chinese institutions are also in a delicate financial situation, aggravated by corruption, analysts say.
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