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China deploys huge police force to prevent fraud protest

AFP  |  Beijing 

Hundreds of police patrolled the streets of Beijing's financial district today as Chinese authorities clamped down on a planned protest against losses sustained in risky (P2P) lending platforms.

Enraged over financial losses, petitioners told AFP they had come from every corner of -- from the southernmost province of to the far-west region of Xinjiang -- in hopes that by gathering en masse, the government would recognise their grievances and take action.

But authorities appeared to have other plans.

More than 120 buses lined the roads around the Banking Regulatory Commission, where the protest was supposed to take place. They stretched all the way to Beijing's Diaoyutai state guesthouse some three kilometres (1.9 miles) away.

Security forces rounded up groups of petitioners from the surrounding streets and parks and drove them away in the buses under police escort.

A man in plainclothes sealed the windows of one vehicle shut with clear tape before it was driven away.

A told AFP they would be taken to a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Beijing, where maintains what rights activists describe as "black jails". Petitioners are typically held there until minders escort them back to their home towns.

"Cases sent there are essentially sent into a black hole -- people never get any results and end up like characters in 'Waiting for Godot'," explained Patrick Poon, China

China's industry, worth some USD 195 billion according to News, is the world's largest but is highly risky and unregulated.

The cumulative number of failed Chinese firms has soared in recent years, from just 93 in 2013 to 4,334 as of this June, cited Shanghai-based consultancy the as saying.

In July alone 164 firms were identified as "problematic platforms" from which investors could no longer withdraw their funds, according to P2P database Wangdaizhijia.

Possibly over 8,000 people were expected at the protest, one petitioner said, a claim that was echoed in what purported to be a leaked government document circulating online. It could not be independently verified.

According to the document, cybersecurity authorities had identified 8,370 people from 32 out of the country's 34 provinces, districts and cities who planned to come to after organising on

The missive, addressed to public security bureaus nationwide, directs them to "closely watch the movements of relevant people and carry out stability and control work in a timely manner towards active organisers, people buying tickets to Beijing, and other such key people to strictly prevent a large gathering in and ensure that society remains stable.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, August 06 2018. 19:00 IST