“We were cheated financially, physically beaten and mentally traumatized.”
In a rare mass demonstration, around 1,000 protesters gathered at the Zhengzhou branch of the People’s Bank of China on Sunday, seeking to recover personal funds frozen by the government – to confront the brutality of the forces violent security forces and leave without their money.
According The New York TimesThe Chinese government has halted withdrawals from four regional banks in China’s Henan Province to investigate a massive fraud case linked to a criminal organization.
But it was April, and people who trusted the banks were struggling with no access to their savings.
“We didn’t want to have any conflicts with anyone,” said bank customer Feng Tianyu, a young mother pregnant with her second child. NYT. “But the government sent so many people to deal with unarmed people. We were cheated financially, physically beaten and mentally traumatized.”
The NYT previously reported that in recent weeks some angsty bankers have been intercepted en route by police, who allegedly misused COVID-tracing technology to track and apprehend would-be protesters – perhaps hoping to quell protests in the ‘egg.
But the situation is clearly hopeless. China is notoriously hostile to civil unrest, and its ruling party may even be developing terrifying, dystopian AI technology that detects government loyalty. Protests are rare.
Feng told the NYT that she was dragged by her hair and arms on a bus, where some demonstrators were again beaten. When she was finally taken to the hospital for stomach pain, the facility refused to treat her.
“I’m pregnant and I’ve come this far because this money is really important to me,” she continued. “If I don’t get the money back, I can’t have prenatal checks, I can’t have this child, and I can’t continue to support my 2-year-old daughter.”
According to BBCHenan’s government’s financial arm has since released a statement outlining a vague repayment plan, but the statement was quickly shredded on Weibo, the country’s most popular social network, by wary commenters.
“The statement gives no clear clue [of how they are planning to release our savings]“, wrote a Weibo user. “They just don’t want to give us our money back.”
READ MORE: Security forces in China attack protesters seeking frozen funds [The New York Times]
Learn more about China: Police in China track citizens with surveillance that predicts future crimes