According to two protestors who spoke with Reuters, callers identifying themselves as Beijing police officers asked them to report to the police station on Tuesday and gave them written accounts of their activities at the protest. One student said they were asked by their college if they had been at a protest, and to provide a written account.
One person said that they are "desperately" going through chat history and deleting their conversations. Police have asked how they had heard about the protests and why they went.
Police have not made public how they were able to track down those who participated in the protests. It was not known how many people Chinese Communist officials intend to question.
The Public Security Bureau did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters. A foreign ministry spokesperson said that rights and freedoms must be exercised in ways that do not break the law.
Protests erupted across China this past weekend, as the country's government continues to impose stringent lockdown policies three years into the pandemic.
The protests are the largest public display of anti-government behavior since the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. The protests also come shortly after the coronation of Xi Jinping at the national congress, essentially making the president leader of the country for life.
"The problems highlighted by the public are not aimed at the epidemic prevention and control itself, but focus on simplifying prevention and control measures," Cheng Youquan, a health official, told reporters.
National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said on Monday that the US is watching the situation "closely," and that the US supported the rights of protestors.
Under China's "zero-COVID" policy, those who test positive for the virus anywhere in China must be separated from all non-infected people, including family members, with no exceptions. This includes isolating children from their parents if they test positive and parents or guardians don't. Vaccine passports and licenses to allow movement throughout the city were also reportedly being checked by hazmat-suited authorities.
Many of the recent protests were spurred by the deaths of at least 12 people in a Urumqi apartment building fire. The residence, located in the Xinjiang region of the country, was sealed shut by CCP officials to stop the spread of Covid. The victims were burned alive.Solidarity protests have now begun to pop up in other major cities around the world.
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