A planned protest by hundreds of bank depositors in central China seeking access to their blocked funds has been thwarted because authorities have changed their permission in their health applications to “red” to prevent them from moving, according to some sources. depositors quoted by Reuters.
Depositors were planning to travel to central Henan Province this week from various parts of China to protest the nearly two-month blockade of access to at least $ 178 million in their deposits, leaving some companies unable to pay employees. and individuals cannot access their savings.
Human rights groups have warned that Beijing could use its vast Covid surveillance infrastructure to stifle dissent. Without a green code on their phone apps, citizens lose access to public transport and places like restaurants and malls, as well as the right to travel around the country.
“They’re handcuffing us,” said Chen, a Sichuan province depositor who declined to give his full name for fear of government sanctions.
The Henan Provincial Government, the National Health Commission and the Ministry of Public Security did not respond to Reuters requests for comment.
Following recent outbreaks of Covid, some regions of China have asked travelers to register their plans online.
A man named Liu, who lives in Hubei Province, discovered that his medical application had turned red in the morning of June 12 after he had registered a day ago to travel to Henan.
Liu had planned to travel to a planned protest on Monday in the Zhenghou capital of Henan province, where he hoped to get his money back. The protest was the latest in a series of protests in Henan in recent months.
More than 200 depositors were similarly blocked when their health codes turned red, according to members of a WeChat group.
It was not possible to determine whether the change in the code was intended to block the protesters or whether it was another reason, but three depositors told Reuters that they know people who have registered to travel to Henan, who have nothing to do with the frozen funds. whose codes did not turn red.
Yu Zhou Xin Min Sheng Village, Shangcai Huimin Country and Zhecheng Huanghuai Community banks froze deposits on April 18, with all three institutions telling customers that they are improving their internal systems.
Liu, who also declined to disclose his full name for fear of repercussions, said that if this code did not return to the green soon, his child would not be able to go to school.
“I can’t do anything, I can’t go anywhere. You are being treated like a murderer. It violates my human rights, “said Liu.
Wang Qiong, who lives in the central city of Wuhan, found that his application turned red after he registered to travel to Henan on June 11.
“The last time I went to protest in April was with the police,” said Wang, who said he had lost access to 2.3 million yuan ($ 341,550).
Other depositors told Reuters that they managed to get to Zhengzhou by train and car, but their codes turned red as soon as they scanned the city’s health codes.
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