Following the extreme health measures taken by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to deal with the COVID pandemic, dissenting voices have been severely and consistently suppressed in China.  

On November 1, human rights activist Ji Xiaolong was allowed to meet with his lawyer for the first time after two months in prison for daring to question sanitation measures in the city of Shanghai.

During the lawyer’s visit, Ji told him that it was the first time he had seen sunlight, and that prison conditions are inhumane, and asked his legal representative if he could intervene with the state by appealing for human rights.

The imprisoned activist said that his cell is meant to hold about 25 people, but he is sharing it with more than 60 others. He also said that the environment was very harsh, they were not allowed to go outdoors or see sunlight, and due to the lack of space he could not lie down to sleep, nor could he bend or extend his arms. 

The reason for his arrest

Since the pandemic began in 2019, the whole world shut down and China was the first to apply strict sanitary measures, and is still doing so. The city of Shanghai was no exception and its people have been suffering quarantines, and seeing their economy ruined day by day.

In this scenario, Ji, a senior executive at an international company, launched in February 2022, the “Shanghai Citizens’ Petition for the People,” in which he called for an end to the quarantines, tax reduction for companies, and compensation for people suffering the consequences of the strict measures applied by the Chinese regime.

The businessman’s behavior prompted Shanghai authorities to detain him seven times for questioning, until he was placed under arrest at the end of August and formally sentenced on September 23 on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”, a term often used by the CCP to refer to any critic of the regime.

This arrest mobilized several Chinese netizens around the world, who launched campaigns calling for the activist’s release.

Ji, a Christian by faith, reads the Bible often, and it is his belief that drives him on. He himself has said he will continue to speak freely and protest the repression of the people of his city and country.

Repression of Linyi residents complaining about “zero-COVID” measures

On November 7, health personnel known as Dabai, together with Linyi city police, physically assaulted several residents of an apartment block for allegedly criticizing health measures imposed in the city. 

Shocking images of Dabai personnel dragging several residents out of the vicinity of a block of buildings and into the street circulated on Chinese social media, but were quickly censored by the repressive state apparatus.

Several local residents filmed with their cell phones the violent scenes of residents being pushed to the ground and then kicked in the head by people dressed in black, apparently accomplices of local police.

Meanwhile, Linyi police reported that seven people had been detained following a clash between residents and authorities enforcing “zero-COVID” measures, without giving further details. 

Small roadside booths for forced quarantine 

According to a video posted by Chinese journalist, Jennifer Zeng, on October 20, the city of Zhengzhou began using an improvised measure, putting people’s health at risk. 

These are small structures of 11 square feet, covered with a thin transparent plastic. There is no insulation, heating, furniture, toilets, or blankets. Ventilation filters through the bottom and there is no door or other access.  

The capital of Henan province can reach temperatures as low as 41 F at this time of the year, putting the health of the detainees at risk. While in the small booths, the detainees can only stand or crouch.

The short video shows a long row of booths, located along an avenue, with little distance between them. These places are supposed to be used temporary, although it is uncertain how long citizens will be forced to stay in them.   

As long as the Chinese regime persists in applying extreme measures that have so far only harmed people, there will be no peace and tranquility in Chinese society.

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