They joined a vigil in China. Then their lives were turned upside down

When one by one, the friends of a young woman living in Beijing began disappearing – detained by the police after attending a vigil together weeks earlier – she felt sure that

her time was nearing. “As I record this video, four of my friends have already been taken away,” the woman, age 26, said, speaking clearly into the camera in a video

recording from late December obtained by CNN. “I entrusted some friends of mine with making this video public after my disappearance. In other words, when you see this

video, I have been taken away by the police for a while.” The woman – a recent graduate who is an editor at a publishing house – is among eight people, mainly young,

female professionals in the same extended social circle, that CNN has learned have been quietly detained by authorities in the weeks following a peaceful protest in the Chinese

capital on November 27. That protest was one of many that broke out in major cities across the country in an unprecedented showing of discontent with China’s now-dismantled

zero-Covid controls. CNN has confirmed that two of those eight were released on bail Thursday evening and Friday, respectively, just days ahead of the Lunar New Year. One

release was confirmed to CNN on Friday by her lawyer, who declined to comment further on whether she had been charged with a crime. The second was confirmed by a source with

direct knowledge.