‘Beaten And Then Tied To A Chair’: Chinese Protester Recalls Torture During Detention


China is slowly starting to ease Covid-19 restrictions after nationwide protests against the Xi Jinping government’s strict lockdown measures. As thousands of people took to the streets to voice their dissent over the weekend, several were detained by the police for demonstrating.

The protesters, after their release, have started to share the ordeal they had to endure for standing up against the country’s harsh rules.

Recalling the trauma, the 28-year-old Pei* said that on Sunday morning he grabbed his camera and drove to the protest scene to take part in the demonstration, The Telegraph reported.

“I like freedom, democracy and surfing the internet,” he told The Telegraph. “But that’s all against the law in China.”

When Pei arrived on the street and started to take photographs, he was knocked to the ground by five police officers.

“They said I wasn’t allowed to take pictures. They are so afraid that I will tell other people the truth,” he said, fearing he would be spotted talking to a journalist.

ALSO READ: China Eases Covid-19 Restrictions After National Protests

After spending several hours in a police station, he was offered a bowl of rice and vegetables.

He asked for a little more rice. Instead, the officers tied his wrists and ankles to a chair. The marks of which are still visible days later.

“A simple form of torture, really,” he said, as reported by The Telegraph.

Although the police have not disclosed the number of arrests being made during the protest, there were enough to require the use of several stations in the local area.

The protests marked the largest act of civil disobedience in China since President Xi Jinping assumed office a decade ago.

For most of the protestors, this was the first time they had taken part in any act of civil disobedience.

ALSO READ: Covid-19 Protests: China Entering ‘New Stage And Mission’ For Pandemic Controls, Says Official

Another protestor, Bo Jun*, who was detained by the police, tells his story via a complicated digital detour, reported The Telegraph.

Like most of those who were arrested, he was immediately forced to hand over his phone at the police station. They immediately looked to see if he had uploaded recordings of the demonstration to social media.

The officers also wanted to know his home and work address and took his fingerprints. They also pricked his finger with a small needle for a drop of blood.

Bo Jun was locked in a room of about five square meters along with six other people. “We weren’t allowed to talk. We didn’t get any water, nothing to eat, and there wasn’t enough room to sleep,” The Telegraph quoted him as saying.

After a day and a half, he was released. But the officers kept his phone—without which he didn’t have any access to health codes, digital payments, and chat apps and that, he feels, is the point the police wanted to make—we can exile you in your hometown.

“I’m scared every day,” he said. “Even the flashing red and blue lights freak me out. And when I see the clothes that I wore that night laying around, painful memories come flooding back.”

There is a police car with flashing lights parked at every intersection in Shanghai’s busy neighborhoods. Mobile devices are screened for illegal software on the subway and on Wulumuqi street.

Pei said he is fearful that people would not dare to speak out anymore. “If only five percent of the population of Shanghai takes to the streets, the police will not have the capacity to stop us. But people are not united.

Bo Jun agrees, “I think this will be over soon. People are slowly starting to understand what the problem is. But we may not be able to solve it,” The Telegraph quoted him as saying.

The protests in China intensified with hundreds of people taking to the streets against the country’s zero-Covid policy. The protesters demand the lifting of the lockdown and the release of arrested people. Demonstrations that have erupted across the cities have become the biggest test for President Xi Jinping since he secured a historic third term in power.

Protesters were shown in videos yelling for Chinese President Xi Jinping to resign or for the ruling party to cede power. But the posts were deleted immediately on China’s social media, as China’s Communist Party commonly does to suppress criticism, the news agency Associated Press had reported.

China reported 36,061 new Covid-19 infections for Wednesday, of which 4,150 were symptomatic and 31,911 asymptomatic, the National Health Commission (NHC) said.

*Names have been changed by The Telegraph


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