China pledges crackdown on ‘hostile forces’ after demonstrations
China’s ruling Communist Party has vowed to ‘crack down on infiltration and sabotage activities by hostile forces’ following the country’s largest street demonstrations in decades.
The statement comes amid a massive show of force by security services to deter any further outcry against coronavirus restrictions.
While it did not directly address the protests, the declaration serves as a reminder of the party’s determination to enforce its rule under president Xi Jinping.
Yesterday, hundreds of SUVs, vans and armoured vehicles were parked along city streets while police and paramilitary forces conducted random ID checks.
They also searched people’s phones for photos, banned apps or other potential evidence that they had taken part in the demonstrations in several cities at the weekend, including Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai.
The protests were sparked by anger over the deaths of at least ten people in a fire in China’s far west that prompted questions about whether firefighters or victims trying to escape were blocked by anti-Covid controls.
Ex-president dies of leukaemia
Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin, who came to power after the Tiananmen Square protests, has died aged 96, state TV reported.
A surprise choice to lead a divided Communist Party after the 1989 crackdown, Mr Jiang’s 13-year rule saw China through changes that included a revival of market-oriented reforms, the return of Hong Kong from British rule in 1997 and Beijing’s entry into the World Trade Organization.
His government also jailed human rights, labour and pro-democracy activists; pursued a hard-line stance on Taiwan and banned the Falun Gong spiritual movement.
He died of leukaemia and organ failure, the Chinese Communist Party stated.
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