Two Chinese cities ease COVID-19 curbs after protests spread

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EASING CURBS

As well as the easing of curbs in Guangzhou and Chongqing, officials in Zhengzhou, the site of a big Foxconn factory making Apple iPhones that has been the scene of worker unrest over COVID-19, announced the “orderly” resumption of businesses, including supermarkets, gyms and restaurants.

Earlier national health officials said China would respond to “urgent concerns” raised by the public and that COVID-19 rules should be implemented more flexibly, according to a region’s conditions.

But while the easing of some measures appears to be an attempt to appease the public, authorities have also begun to seek out those who have been at the protests.

“Police came to my front door to ask me about it all and get me to complete a written record,” a Beijing resident who declined to be identified told Reuters on Wednesday.

Another resident said some friends who posted videos of protests on social media were taken to a police station and asked to sign a promise they “would not do that again”.

Several people gave similar accounts to Reuters on Tuesday.

It was not clear how authorities identified the people they wanted to question, nor how many such people authorities contacted.

Beijing’s Public Security Bureau did not comment.

In a statement that did not refer to the protests, the Communist Party’s top body in charge of law enforcement agencies said on Tuesday that China would crack down on “the infiltration and sabotage activities of hostile forces”.

The Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission also said “illegal and criminal acts that disrupt social order” would not be tolerated.

The foreign ministry has said rights and freedoms must be exercised lawfully.

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