Several activists and internet users chastised Chinese authorities for exploiting the COVID-19 health app to suppress dissent.
According to The Singapore Post, Chinese officials utilised the health app code to prevent depositors who had lost access to their cash from demonstrating against local banks in Henan province. During the early stages of the epidemic, China created a color-coded smartphone app to track people’s movements in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and execute its zero-COVID policy.
The authorities had employed mobile applications to identify and isolate persons who may have been infected with COVID-19.
According to recent media reports, police in Zhengzhou, Henan province’s capital, employed mandatory codes to limit the mobility of people furious because local banks had frozen their accounts, according to The Singapore Post.
Hundreds of depositors who were unable to withdraw funds recently planned to travel to Zhengzhou to protest against local banks that had blocked their accounts due to internal system upgrades.
Many people discovered that the so-called health codes on their phones had changed from green to red upon arrival. They couldn’t travel because they were red, so the demonstrations died down. The red coding appeared to be solely for depositors. Citizens lost access to public transportation and public venues like as restaurants and shopping malls, as well as the right to travel throughout the nation, if they did not have a green code on their smartphone app.
A red code, which normally indicates illness or close contact, suggested that he or she was a public health danger.
According to the reports, the police detained numerous persons and barred them from moving. Several persons reported being forced to quarantine or being denied access to public transit or buildings.
Local banks including as Kaifeng’s New Oriental Country Bank, ZhechengHuanghuai Community Bank, ShangcaiHuimin County Bank, and YuzhouXin Min Sheng Village Bank have had difficulty providing cash withdrawals.
However, banks blocked deposits on April 18, resulting in heated protests last month, according to The Singapore Post.
Meanwhile, human rights organisations have slammed authorities for utilising their huge COVID monitoring infrastructure to disrupt protests. Many people resorted to Chinese social media sites to express their concerns over the action.
Hu Xijin, a popular Chinese commentator and former newspaper editor, said “health codes” should be used solely for the purpose of preventing pandemics.”
“If any area uses health codes to restrict people’s movements for other purposes, this is clearly a breach of pandemic prevention laws… and damages the support of the people for our fight against the virus,” he said.