Up to 100,000 members of an investment firm have been gathering in Beijing in the past few days to protest the arrest of the company’s senior management.
Members of Shan Xin Hui, which the Public Security Bureau has labeled as a pyramid scheme, want President Xi Jinping to look into the arrests so their “charity operation” can continue, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The protests are taking place near Tiananmen Square, with the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China only months away.
Sources said Beijing is on high alert and police in the capital city have been mobilized.
Shan Xin Hui members have been arriving in batches since last Saturday and have staged silent sit-in protests near Tiananmen Square. Initially, they had no banners or slogans.
On Monday, the protesters put up banners, sang the national anthem and chanted slogans outside the Dahongmen International Convention and Exhibition Center.
They were seen kneeling together and pleading for the release of Shan Xin Hui founder Zhang Tianming.
Some protesters said Shan Xin Hui has benefited a lot of people in need. They said they fear losing their life savings if the company is banned by the authorities.
The Public Security Bureau said the investment scheme is a fraud that preys on the generosity of people who are sold on the idea of making money while helping others.
Authorities said Shan Xin Hui, which has recruited more than four million members nationwide to its investment scheme over the past 12 months with promises of high returns, is a Ponzi scheme.
Zhang Tianming faces charges of defrauding victims under the guise of helping the poor while purportedly creating wealth for its members
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