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Respect people’s right to peaceful protest: Human Rights Watch tells China

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Human Rights Watch has demanded Chinese government to release all wrongfully detained protesters and cease online censorship of protest-related information.

New York, Nov 29: Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said that the Chinese government should respect the fundamental rights of people who are holding protests peacefully against its zero-COVID policy and has urged the government to allow them to express their views.

"People across China are taking extraordinary risks to demand their human rights," said Yaqiu Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch. "The Chinese authorities should not suppress the protests but instead allow everyone to peacefully express their views," he stated.

Respect people’s right to peaceful protest: Human Rights Watch tells China

It has demanded the government to release all wrongfully detained protesters and cease online censorship of protest-related information.

UN calls on China to respect right to peaceful protestsUN calls on China to respect right to peaceful protests

Headquartered in New York City, Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization which conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Known for children, migrants, and political prisoners, the group pressures governments, policy makers, companies, and individual human rights abusers to denounce abuse and respect human rights.

Protest in China:

Over the weekend, several cities in China witnessed protests against the country's stringent COVID-19 restrictions after a fire in a residential high-rise in Urumqi, where many residents have been placed under lockdown in which 10 people were killed.

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On Monday, the authorities did not allow protesters to organise demonstration and made several arrests, a report said.

According to an expert, the protests are unlikely to die any time soon and it is likely to continue be "ebb and flow" as people were "not being called out to the streets in a controlled fashion... they move between social media and the street".

Tracing them down:

The cops are tracing the protestors and calling them to enquire about their whereabouts. There are reports that claim that the authorities are calling protestors asking them whether they attended the protest sites which, according to them, was 'illegal assembly'. However, it is unclear how the authorities managed to discover them.

In a rare instance, China is witnessing a public outrage against China's authoritarian government and its president Xi Jinping over China's strict COVID-19 restrictions. In several videos doing rounds on social media sites, protestors were heard asking Chinese President 'Xi Jinping to step down and the clips have gone viral on social media sites. More importantly, they are voices which are calling for 'freedom of speech' and 'democracy'.

On the other hand, China has blamed "forces with ulterior motives" for linking a deadly fire in the western Xinjiang region to strict Covid measures.

Responding to a question, Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, "On social media there are forces with ulterior motives that relate this fire with the local response to Covid-19."

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