In a new manifestation of China’s zero-COVID struggle, Chinese law enforcement has been captured intervening with pandemic officials instead of assisting them as usual.

This person in protective clothing is escorted to the police car after questioning if they had any authority to stop them from conducting their duties. As Chinese media Aboluo Wang reported, the white-clothed officials erected fences around a Beijing residential complex before the police intervened.

The video emerged on Twitter around November 28, a day after Beijing outlawed barricades for buildings in closed-off residential compounds. This came after protests erupted across major Chinese cities some days before.

This video was available on Twitter on November 26, two days after the Urumqi apartment fire, the very incident that spelled the last straw of Chinese citizens’ patience.

In this recording, a community leader is telling the police via phone that residents were causing trouble as they tried to enforce a lockdown. To the person’s surprise, the police said they saw no sign of people making trouble and instead asked if there were any legal documents that the place should be closed for pandemic control.

As they learned that the order was only issued verbally, the officer said there was no legal basis to implement the measure.

In a broader scene, clashes with Chinese law enforcement still left many protesters traumatized. Anti-lockdown protester Cheng from Shanghai said he was still shaken after narrowingly escaping police capture on November 27.

Talking with Radio Free Asia, Cheng said the police randomly grabbed people from the crowd and dragged them over by their feet. He recalled one woman was pinned to the ground and beaten up by a dozen officers after resisting them. She was then taken away.

In a protest in Chengdu city, Sichuan province, a woman reportedly confronted the police and asked, “You’re all fine because you have your salaries, but did you know that ordinary people are supporting you with their savings?”

RFA reported that her question was met with a nonchalant response.

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