(Sputnik) – Following a significant public protest in southern Beijing on Monday, the Chinese government issued a statement warning citizens against gathering illegally.
A major highway in the southern area of Beijing was closed by police after a large group staged a protest against the shutdown of a popular charity.
Police in the heavily guarded capital city issued several warnings against what they termed illegal public gatherings, an uncommon announcement as large-scale protest in affluent Beijing is rare.
In a country in which there are thousands of protests documented each year illuminating such issues as pollution and resource inequality — as well a lack of access to quality education, food and medicines — the
ruling Communist Party looks to its capital city as a beacon of stability.
Beijing’s state-owned news agency Xinhua said that police detained top employees from Shanxinhui late last week, accusing the executives of running a scam charity.
Following the arrests, Beijing police said Monday that “certain members of Shanxinhui were incited by those with ulterior motives to come to Beijing and illegally gather, seriously disturbing social order in the capital,” cited by Channel News Asia.
The protesters that gathered to demonstrate against the arrests of Shanxinhui employees were “suspected of offending against laws and rules” according to Beijing police, who asserted that the throng left without incident.
Those suspected of “taking the lead” in fomenting the protests were arrested, according to a police statement that did not include any other information, according to Channel News Asia.
A small convention center in a working-class southern Beijing neighborhood where the demonstration took place was deserted on Tuesday, although the continued presence of police vehicles and officers was noted.
During the Monday demonstration, local Chinese supporters of Shanxinhui claimed that the charity had been handled unfairly by the Communist Party, and suggested that the organization assists many poor people, according to Reuters.
Official statements from police in the capital city reminded residents that it is against the law to hold “illegal gatherings,” and that any participants would be arrested.
No precise estimate of the size of the Monday crowd was provided, either by police or state-run media.
This report prepared by Sputnik.