China is waging a campaign of intimidation against people participating in demonstrations, which started days after Beijing abruptly abandoned its zero-COVID restrictions. The country is discrediting protesters by portraying them as tools of malevolent foreign powers, The New York Times reported.
Since China abandoned its zero-COVID policy, its domestic challenges have increased, youth unemployment is high, the economy is slowing down, and COVID infections and deaths have accelerated.
According to The New York Times, Beijing has long dismissed dissent at home, from calls for women's rights to pro-democracy activism to ethnic unrest, as the result of Western-backed subversion.
Recently, China arrested four women in association with the protests.
People close to the four women told The New York Times that the police have asked the women about their use of overseas messaging platforms or involvement in feminist activities, such as reading groups. Chinese propaganda has decried feminism as another tool of foreign influence.
The women have told the police that they were driven by their own convictions and a belief that they have the right to voice their views. One of the women, Cao Zhixin, before being detained in December, recorded a video that she entrusted to friends to share if she went missing.
"We care about this society," said Cao, 26, in the video, in which she said that the other three women, Li Yuanjing, an accountant; Li Siqi, 27, a freelance writer; and Zhai Dengrui, a former literature student, had already been taken away, The New York Times reported.
"At the scene, we respected public order, we didn't provoke any conflicts with the police. So why do you still have to secretly take us away," Cao asked.
GeoPolitica.info recently reported that China is facing a significant challenge in the form of COVID, due to the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) "flawed and regressive containment policies and ineffective domestically produced vaccines."
Many reports from China have suggested that hospitals in highly-populated cities, including Shanghai and Beijing are overflowing with patients despite officials claiming that the outbreak had peaked last month, as per the news report.
Without any plan, the Chinese government ended its "zero-COVID policy" which in its initial phases imposed stringent measures, according to GeoPolitica.info report. In order to contain the spread of the virus, China imposed "draconian lockdowns, stringent contact tracing as well as inhumane behaviour by party officials."
Although China's economy witnessed a significant downfall, caused by the restrictions imposed by the CCP, the measures announced by the Chinese government might have prevented deaths.
However, they also left a huge percentage of its population without natural immunity from COVID, more so, as China's home-grown vaccines were ineffective as a deterrent against the virus and they even failed to protect the people, according to GeoPolitica.info report. (ANI)