The Washington PostThe Washington Post

Tracked, detained, vilified: How China throttled anti-covid protests

By Cate Cadell and Christian Shepherd

04 Jan 2023 · 9 min read

Editor's Note

As China eases its rigid Covid restrictions, the Washington Post reports that Beijing is cracking down on the anti-lockdown protestors with digital surveillance, aggressive interrogations and threats.

China's rapid reversal of strict "zero covid" policies following unprecedented protests in November appeared, from afar, to be a rare instance of authorities acknowledging - perhaps even tacitly condoning - popular public dissent.

But as Beijing loosened its iron grip on the coronavirus, a different story was unfolding inside homes and police stations across the country as authorities fanned out to crack down on those behind the protests - utilizing the powerful surveillance state built over the past decade and fine-tuned during the pandemic.

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