Massive police presences have prevented a possible resurgence of protests against the tough zero-Covid policy in several Chinese cities. Roads were closed and passers-by’ cellphones were checked.

In the capital Beijing and in metropolises such as Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou, security forces have been on the streets since Monday. In many cases, passers-by were stopped and had to show their mobile phones, which were checked for suspicious content or programs such as tunnel services (VPN) to circumvent Chinese censorship.

In Beijing, the Liangma River promenade near the diplomatic district, where hundreds had demonstrated on Sunday evening, was particularly secured. In Shanghai, barriers had been erected on Wulumuqi Road to prevent larger crowds like at the weekend. After calls for new protests on social media, a massive police presence was also seen on People’s Square in the eastern Chinese port metropolis, as eyewitnesses described.

Thousands of people took to the streets in several cities in the People’s Republic over the weekend to protest against the rigorous measures of the zero-Covid policy, such as repeated lockdowns, forced quarantines, mass tests and constant monitoring of corona apps. “Unlock the lockdown” and “We don’t want PCR tests, we want freedom” were shouted in Beijing. These were the largest protests in China since the pro-democracy movement, which the military brutally crushed in 1989.