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Hundreds protest in Chinese city over corruption : Report

Hundreds marched in Zhengzhou, central China, on Sunday to protest suspected corruption by local authorities, according to numerous participants, in a rare public rally in the tightly controlled country. As a result of the country’s economic recession, four banks in Henan province have stopped all cash withdrawals since mid-April, leaving thousands of small savers without funds and provoking periodic protests.

Several hundred people rallied in front of a People’s Bank of China branch in the Henan capital Zhengzhou on Sunday, according to various witnesses who declined to be identified. Images on social media circulated banners condemning ‘the corruption and brutality of the Henan government’.

Protesters were ‘They had been hit, were injured, and were bleeding from the head. Disabled persons were also viciously abused,’ one demonstrator told AFP, putting the number of protesters at ‘several thousand’. Local officials in Henan did not immediately respond to the demonstrations. Some protestors accuse officials of collaborating with local banks to repress rallies, with authorities last month accused of using the Covid health card to quash new protests, turning protesters’ passes red to essentially restrict them from public venues.

Under Beijing’s stringent Covid-zero approach, the health pass has become a pervasive aspect of life in China, and is necessary to access the great majority of buildings, retail centres, public venues, and some public transportation. While most people support the use of the technology for public health objectives, some are concerned that it may also be used for population monitoring, which is currently common in China.

Demonstrations are uncommon in closely governed China, where social stability is an official priority and resistance is rapidly suppressed. Despite the risk of arrest and prosecution, desperate residents do occasionally take to the streets. According to analysts, corruption has compounded the already perilous financial positions of certain local banks across China.



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