According to Apple Daily, 3.000 depositors whose money was frozen gathered in Zhengzhou city, the capital of Henan province, China, to protect their interests. They were surrounded and beaten by police and unidentified people. Clashes broke out between the police and bank customers. Weibo netizens repeatedly reposted the incident. However, any pictures and posts would be repeatedly taken down. Some netizens said, “This is a really brutal suppression, but [I] can’t find it on hot search.”

According to Fox News, the protesters were among thousands of customers opening accounts at six rural banks in Henan and neighboring Anhui province that offered higher interest rates. They later found out they could not withdraw the money after the media reported that the head of the banks’ parent company had fled and was wanted for financial crimes.

Depositors could not withdraw their money in April and wanted to go to Zhengzhou to get their deposits back in June.

According to Apple Daily, a group of people, including children and disabled people, gathered outside the Zhengzhou branch of the People’s Bank of China at around 5 a.m. on July 10 to protest about their loss of money.

The slogans and banners that depositors held up read: “Protesting arbitrary power, and opposing the Henan provincial government’s association with the underworld to violently beat/attack depositors,” “Protesting the corruption and violence of the Henan government, 400.000 depositors have been ruined the Chinese dream in Henan.” “Opposition to Lou Yangsheng 樓陽生 three no’s policy: No complaints, no incidents and no cases.”

A woman surnamed Zhang from Shandong told a Fox News reporter: “We came today and wanted to get our savings back, because I have elderly people and children at home, and the inability to withdraw savings has seriously affected my life.”

According to Fox News, a bank manager and a local government official arrived, but their attempts to speak to the crowd were met with shouting. Zhang and another protester, a man from Beijing surnamed Yang, told the AP that protesters had heard officials before and did not believe what they said. Yang and Zhang refused to reveal their names due to fear of pressure from the authorities.

Apple Daily reported that the authorities had mobilized more police forces at the scene. In addition to the police, there were people in white standing in front of the police, preventing the protesters from defending their interests and brutally attacking them.

Depositors were surrounded, and ambulances were dispatched to the scene in preparation for a major confrontation.

After police surrounded the depositors, a serious scuffle broke out between the two sides—many online videos show men dressed in white punching, kicking, and violently pulling depositors. The depositors kept shouting at the government officials: “Give my money back, give my money back…” These government employees took pictures of the protesting depositors, raising fears they may suffer repercussions.

Photos circulating on Weibo show depositors being beaten until bleeding, women being attacked so brutally they vomited blood, and disabled people beaten to the point of falling into a coma. Many security forces in white worked together to subdue the protesters, punching, kicking, and beating supporters on their way.

In desperation, one depositor climbed a tree to hang himself, and people around shouted to prevent him.

A reporter of Sound of Hope noticed that, on the morning of July 10, depositors could also post photos and videos on Weibo to reflect the situation at the protest site promptly. By noon, the related posts on Weibo had been completely deleted, and even related sections were deleted.

The latest video shows the depositor being caught and taken away on a bus.Fox News reports depositors taken on the buses were then forced to sign a guarantee of not joining any gatherings.

Chinese authorities blocked the news. The topic “Thousands of depositors besieged in front of the gates of the People’s Bank of Henan” was removed from Weibo. The Zhengzhou beating could not be found, and WeChat messages were also blocked. Apple Daily compiled some netizens’ comments before the posts were deleted:

“This is scarier than the attack in Tangshan, which was a personal act. When it happened, we could at least seek protection from the government, but when we found out we would be beaten if we went to the government, we really don’t know what to do?”

“May the young people in China get out of the silence and step out, don’t listen to the talkers demeaning themselves. If you can work, let’s work. If you can talk, let’s talk. Even a firefly can shine a little in the dark without waiting for a torch.”

“Chills down my spine, this is a society where we can’t see the light.”

“All kinds of chaos are getting closer and closer, no one can get out.”

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