An expat living in Beijing has published an account online claiming that while riding with Uber her car was intercepted by police officers and the driver dragged onto the street.
According to the article, the incident took place earlier this month in Shunyi district on the outskirts of Beijing as Elaine (an alias) was picking her son Boden (also an alias) up from school.
After hitching a lift home using the Uber app, her ordeal began as they approached traffic lights near Zaoying Station. “We literally just got to the crossroads when all of a sudden, a car used by unmarked policemen cut us off at the traffic light,” said Elaine. “We slammed on the brakes and another unmarked car came down the side of our vehicle.”
Two men then got out of the unmarked cars and approached the vehicle. “Then they proceeded to tell the driver to get out of the car without any questioning. He didn’t get out. He started to argue with them, saying he didn’t do anything wrong,” Elaine added.
Elaine says that at this point the officers opened the door and forcefully dragged the driver out onto the road before handcuffing him and placing him in the back of one of the unmarked cars.
Police began interrogating Elaine by repeating the word “Uber” over and over. While at first feigning ignorance, she eventually admitted that she’d hired a car through Uber after officers produced a digital map of Beijing which appeared to show the location of all Uber cars in the city.
Officers told Elaine through a mixture of English and Chinese that Uber was fine in America but not in China. She was eventually allowed to leave after giving her personal details to the police.
Elaine says that the experience has turned her away from Uber in China knowing that the authorities have her details. “I would obviously know it’s illegal, but still be doing it. So what would that [imply]?”
Uber has had somewhat of a turbulent experience in the Chinese market and is periodically the target of government crackdowns, the most high profile of which taking place in Guangzhou and Chengdu.
Last month CEO Travis Kalanick reported that Uber is suffering losses of more than one billion in China each year as the company battles to fight competition from Chinese rivals.
[h/t Beijing Kids]