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China’s Weibo bans more accounts for Covid policy criticism

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Over 1,100 Weibo accounts have been banned or temporarily suspended for criticizing or questioning China’s official narratives on the pandemic and policies.

According to the SCMP, Weibo said that it had addressed over 12,800 violations, including criticism of medical workers and experts, and issued permanent and temporary bans on 1,120 accounts. The accounts were banned for “personal attacks” against health experts and “inciting conflict” over the government’s COVID-19 policies.

In a statement, Weibo said it “will continue to increase the investigation and cleanup of all kinds of illegal content, and create a harmonious and friendly community environment for the majority of users.”

A few days before the bans, Beijing had said it will have zero tolerance on activities that “use the pandemic to disrupt social order.”

Recently in China’s southwest, there were reports of clashes between retrenched workers and riot police at a pharmaceutical plant. According to footage and posts on Chinese social media, which were soon censored, the protest occurred in Chongqing on a Saturday after workers were laid off without notice.

The plant is operated by Covid test kit manufacturer Zybio, and some sources have said the protest was related to the workers being laid off and others have said that it was related to the workers wages. One individual who claimed to be a temporary worker at the factory, wrote in an online post that the workers were abruptly asked to leave the production line and gather at a square where they were then informed of their early release for the Lunar New Year holidays.

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