Residents get dabbed during mass COVID-19 testing in Beijing’s Chaoyang district on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.

Photo: AP

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Kaifeng’s New Oriental Country Bank, Zhecheng Huanghuai Community Bank, Shangcai Huimin County Bank and Yuzhou Xin Min Sheng Village Bank froze customer deposits in April
  • Customers travel to Zhengzhou to collect their money ever since
  • A series of small demonstrations broke out, culminating in a large demonstration on May 23, after which the police put an end to it.
beijing: Following rare demonstrations, the authorities of the Chinese province of Henan are suspected of restricting the movements of certain inhabitants via the Covid application.

Several people claim to have been forced to self-quarantine or denied access to public transport or buildings, a source said. BBC report.

The majority appear to be customers of four rural banks – New Oriental Country Bank of Kaifeng, Zhecheng Huanghuai Community Bank, Shangcai Huimin County Bank and Yuzhou Xin Min Sheng Village Bank – who have encountered difficulties making cash withdrawals, the authorities reported. Chinese media.

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Banks froze deposits in April, prompting angry protests last month.

An investigation into the banks has since been ordered by China’s banking and insurance regulator.

It is estimated that a total of more than 39 billion yuan ($6 billion) was frozen, which would have affected hundreds of thousands of customers.

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A “health code” app is used by many Chinese residents to enter buildings and shops, use public transport and leave the city. To access it, users must scan a QR code and display a color-coded “health status” on their phone.

If the status changes to red, it means someone has recently tested positive for COVID-19 or is suspected of having COVID-19, and needs to quarantine for 14 days.

When some residents attempted to enter train stations, hotels or buildings on Tuesday, their status turned red.

The number of people affected is unknown, but reports from China indicate that the problem has been reported in several cities and towns in Henan.

The same problem was encountered by customers of the four banks who traveled from other provinces to Henan’s capital, Zhengzhou.

An anonymous bank customer in Zhengzhou said chinese bbc that her status was red despite never having been in contact with a confirmed case and her recent tests were negative.

She added that she was approached by health officials who told her to stay home and refused to explain why her status suddenly turned red.

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Chinese social media platforms have been abuzz with questions about the move, with many alleging officials may have abused their power.

Hu Xijin, a popular Chinese commentator and former newspaper editor, said “health codes” should be used only for the purpose of preventing pandemics.

“If an area uses health codes to restrict the movement of people for other purposes, it is clearly a violation of pandemic prevention laws … and undermines people’s support for our fight against the virus,” he said.