A 21-year-old female college student was reportedly assaulted during a Columbia University protest against China’s COVID lockdowns, and police have released a picture of the alleged attacker.
Crowds of activists, some of whom hid their faces so their families in China would not be targeted by authorities, gathered on West 116th Street on Monday to speak out against China’s COVID policies, including the endless lockdowns. Around 8 p.m., an unidentified man physically accosted the young woman, reportedly punching her multiple times in the head and face. At some point during the assault, she passed out.
She was later taken to a hospital in stable condition, but the police were not able to apprehend her attacker. Crime stoppers released a photo of a man they suspect was involved in the attack, and authorities are asking anyone with information to come forward.
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Approximately 200 people took part in the protest, lighting candles and carrying signs disparaging the Chinese regime while chanting “Give me liberty, or give me death.”
Many similar protests have taken place across the country with activists standing in solidarity with the Chinese people who have suffered some of the most crushing lockdowns in the world. Calls for President Xi Jinping to step down have rung out across the country as citizens desperately fight for their freedom.
But the fight may be short-lived, as The New York Times published an article indicating that the CCP is using technology such as cell phones and surveillance footage to identify activists.
“As the authorities seek to track, intimidate and detain those who marched in defiance of the government’s strict Covid policies last weekend, they are turning to powerful tools of surveillance the state has spent the past decade building for moments like this, when parts of the population turn out and question the authority of the ruling Chinese Communist Party,” the piece reads.
While the Chinese authorities may not yet be issuing extreme punishments for taking part in the protests, the fear of being found out shakes activists and intimidates them into submission.
“Police have used faces, phones and informants to identify those who attended protests,” the article continues. “Usually they force those they track down to pledge not to protest again. Often inexperienced with being tracked, protesters expressed bafflement at how they were found out. Out of fear of further repercussions, many have deleted foreign apps like Telegram that have been used to coordinate and spread images of the protests overseas.”
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