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    NewsAsiaAmnesty calls on the Chinese government to calm down in the face of the protests in recent hours in the country

    Amnesty calls on the Chinese government to calm down in the face of the protests in recent hours in the country

    File – A woman looks at a product in a store in Urumqi, Xinjiang – MA KAI / XINHUA NEWS / CONTACT PHOTO – File

    Amnesty International has asked the Chinese authorities this Sunday to carry out a containment exercise in the face of the protests unleashed in various parts of the country as a result of the fire in the city of Urumqi, in the western region of Xinjiang, where at least 10 people died before, supposedly, the slow response of the firefighters due to the restrictions against the coronavirus.

    Although the regional authorities have partially lifted the restrictions — at a time when the country is registering records of daily cases not seen since the outbreak of the pandemic, 34,000 in the last day — the protests against the strict containment policy of the viruses have fed back with criticism of the authorities’ lack of transparency and their policy of repression of freedom of expression.

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    In fact, in the last few hours, social networks have been filled with videos of silent protests in Beijing or Wuhan, some of which Amnesty has been able to verify, in addition to confirming the arrest of a woman in Urumqi for “spreading rumours”. Amnesty is also working to verify the “dozens of detainees” during the Saturday night protests.

    In Shanghai, hundreds of university students have lit candles to mourn the dead and held up blank sheets of paper, a common symbol in protests against censorship.

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    The American chain CNN collects that in the images you can hear groups of students chanting slogans such as “Resign, Xi Jinping! Withdraw, Communist Party!”. “I don’t want the Covid test, I want freedom!” and “I don’t want a dictatorship, I want democracy!” they added.

    “Instead of penalizing the people, the government should listen to their calls. The authorities should allow people to express their thoughts freely and protest peacefully without fear of reprisals,” asks Amnesty’s deputy regional director, Hana Young.

    “The government must also quickly, effectively and thoroughly investigate the Urumqi fire, to prevent its recurrence, bring justice to the victims and their families, and show people that it responds to their complaints,” he added.

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