Footage of Chinese police holding weapons at the airport of Xishuangbanna (Banna) prefecture to stop tourists from boarding their planes has gone viral in China and overseas.
Tourists were trapped in the airport after the local authorities of Banna suddenly locked down the city of Jinghong on Oct. 4. They chanted “We want to go home!”
Then police wearing full personal protective gear and holding guns appeared at the airport. It is not clear if their guns were loaded with live ammunition. A tourist can be heard shouting: “Are you going to kill us all?”
Xishuangbanna, a prefecture in China’s southwestern Yunnan Province, borders both Burma and Laos. It is well-known for its tropical rainforest, one of the largest in Asia, and is home to Asian elephants, Indo-Chinese tigers, and green peacocks, making it a popular attraction for Chinese tourists.
The prefecture seat is Jinghong, which reportedly saw an outbreak of the pandemic on Oct. 2 and recorded a total of one asymptomatic case and two symptomatic cases as of Oct. 4.
Jinghong City, with a population of 642,737 people, was locked down on Oct. 4. Starting from 2 p.m., Jinghong City’s flights and high-speed railways were suspended, the highways were closed, and a large number of passengers were trapped.
The Chinese language edition of The Epoch Times reached out to several passengers who were at the airport on Oct. 4.
Police Came to Suppress Protest: Tourist
Mr. Song (pseudonym), a tourist in Jinghong, told The Epoch Times on Oct. 5 that he was at the airport when the armed police came to shut down the protest of tourists who were prohibited from boarding their plane.
He said that the tourists were at the departure hall of Banna’s airport. “We saw planes landing and then taking off without letting passengers board the plane, so some people rushed the boarding gates, hoping to have an opportunity to leave,” Song said, adding that the police came with guns to clamp down on the protest.
By Sophia Lam