It is reported that some people called on those in Shenzhen, China, to gather at Huaqiangbei, the city’s residential center, on the evening of November 29 to commemorate the victims of the fire in Xinjiang. As a result, the government has deployed hundreds of police cars to surround the area, strictly checking the mobile phones of young people passing; even some nearby subway stations have had to close temporarily.
Recently, calls for gatherings at Huaqiangbei or the city’s residential center on the evening of November 29 have been circulated on the Chinese internet to commemorate the victims of the Xinjiang fire on November 24. The appeal suggests that: “For those who are about to join the ‘white paper revolution’ protests in Huaqiangbei or the Municipal Residential Center in Shenzhen, it is best to remove the firewall software in mobile phones temporarily and YouTube, Twitter, Telegram, and other apps identified by police as reactionary software before arriving at the scene. Photos and videos taken at the scene should be deleted immediately after being uploaded to the overseas internet to avoid having your phone checked and to keep yourself safe.
A video posted by netizens shows that on November 29, the government sent a large number of police cars, special vehicles, and buses to wait near Huaqiangbei, Shenzhen, because it was widely spread on the internet that people were suggested to hold Coke bottles and gather in Huaqiangbei, continuing the “white paper revolution” movement.
Huaqiangbei is known as “China’s No.1 Electronic Town” and “Asia’s Largest Electronic Products Distribution Center” and is one of the important landmarks of Shenzhen.
This is a video shot from another angle of Huaqiangbei street, full of police cars.
By the evening, there were more police officers in Huaqiangbei than citizens, and the neighborhood of the residential center of Shenzhen city, about 4 kilometers from Huaqiangbei, was also filled with police cars and police officers.
Local netizens reflected on the situation in the Shenzhen city residential center on that night:
“At the city’s population center, Futian district, Shenzhen, at 19:00, go around to observe the situation; it’s really “there is no way out”:
- Around the city’s residential center, there are two police officers every 20m; many plainclothes police patrol the road.
- There are 3-5 policemen at each exit of the City Residential Center subway station.
- There were local traffic police in Futian, and special police officers from Bao’an, Longgang gathered.
- With a situation like this, there’s no space to gather to protest, nor to see any crowds gathering.”
On the night of November 29, the Shenzhen City Residential Center was even quieter than usual, and it could be said that no one was there.
There were rumors on the internet that someone had launched a gathering in Shenzhen, using a Coke bottle as a secret sign. A netizen below captured a photo of a man holding a Coke bottle. Netizens speculated that this man could be a plainclothes policeman because despite so many police officers patrolling, he was fine, and it is likely that the man was wearing plain clothes to arrest the protesters.
In fact, on November 29, the major landmarks in Shenzhen were crowded with police forces, and local netizens reported that the police randomly interrogated young people on the roadside and checked their mobile phones.
The Shenzhen government closed the city’s population center and subway stations near Huaqiangbei from 2 p.m.
The streets around Huaqiangbei in Shenzhen were full of police, and the roads were also fenced off.