Chinese police are using phone tower data and other means to track down people who were at or close to protest sites during the country wide protests in China in late November against COVID restrictions. According to various news reports dozens of “white paper” protesters have been arrested since the beginning of December and many fear detained protesters are being psychologically and physically abused.
The government’s retaliation is happening all across China as security ministries hunt down people they believe were behind the vigils and protests. While most are reportedly being let go after several hours of questioning, some are being charged with the “crime of gathering a crowd to disrupt public order,” which carries a maximum five-year sentence. The police are also reportedly checking the phones during interrogation to review records of communication.
The Chinese Communist Party’s top security body, the Central Legal and Political Affairs Commission, has vowed to “resolutely crack down on infiltration and sabotage activities by hostile forces and illegal and criminal acts that disrupt social order.”