Chinese police put a young woman in jail for 9 days after she joined in the protest against zero-COVID policy in Guangzhou. Her mother said she was afraid for her safety.

Beijing had imposed a strict zero-COVID policy for three years, with constant lockdowns and massive testing. This caused huge economic losses and protests across the country on an unprecedented scale not seen in decades. When the demonstrations hit their peak, Beijing suddenly ended this unpopular plan last week. 

And as usual, the Chinese police are cracking down on protesters.

As reported by AFP, Ms. Gao claimed her daughter Yang Zijing, 25, had been arrested in Guangzhou on the night of December 4 for protesting a week earlier. 

She asked, “They detained so many people who were gradually released, why is she still in there?”

Yang’s roommate said that a group of police officers came to check the water meter but didn’t show any ID. 

She said, “They searched the apartment and took her away, along with her phone and laptop.”

According to AFP, the Chinese police in Beijing and Shanghai have locked up a number of young protesters, some for as long as 24 hours. The police used modern technology to track them down, threaten them, and interrogate them by phone and in person. 

After learning about her daughter’s arrest, Ms. Gao went to Guangzhou on December 8 to see her along with a lawyer. But the police officers in charge of Yang Zijing’s case denied their access. She told AFP:

“They refused to give us any information.”

Under Chinese law, the police have 24 hours to decide whether or not to let a person go after they have been caught and questioned. If they are eventually arrested, they must be sent to a place where they can stay until their trial within 24 hours.

Ms. Gao said the authorities have not moved her daughter to a prison center, citing the pandemic. 

A lawyer who provided legal services to protesters for free told AFP that most of her clients were locked up for at most 24 hours. But she added that at least six protesters in Shanghai and Guangzhou had been held for a week or longer. These protesters could face criminal charges.

To her friends, Yang was a bookish and introverted person with a strong sense of social justice. 

According to Yang’s mother, the pandemic hurt her hard.The young lady had just graduated from college and was working in a tight job market. 

She said, “She was struggling financially. She felt like she couldn’t do anything in the past two years, lockdowns were everywhere.” 

She called for attention to those detained for demanding reopening.

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