NE China's Liaoning orders border city Dandong to abandon one-size-fits-all COVID-19 epidemic control measures, ensure residents' medical need after controversial attacking police case
Published: Jun 24, 2022 03:57 AM
Photo: Screenshot of Weibo video
Photo: Screenshot of Weibo video

The government of Northeast China's Liaoning Province held a video conference on Thursday night calling for the border city of Dandong to optimize local anti-epidemic work amid the controversial case of an old man who attacked a police officer which led to heated discussions on Chinese social media over one-size-fits-all anti-epidemic policies.

Li Lecheng, Governor of the Province of Liaoning, required the authorities of Dandong city to optimize anti-epidemic policies in accordance with the situation, avoid one-size-fits-all and draconian policies and secure the access of residents to doctors.

The public security bureau of Dandong's Zhenxing district issued a statement on Wednesday on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo platform saying that a local woman surnamed Hao, 41, and her father, 70, refused to cooperate when they tried to drive through a checkpoint and were stopped by the police as Hao's health code was yellow.

According to the statement, after Hao stepped out of the car and argued with the police, her father slapped an officer on the face.

Hao was sentenced to 10 days in detention and her father was subjected to mandatory measures, read the statement.

However, the statement faced controversy as it missed some details showed in a video that went viral on Chinese social media platforms triggering the public's sympathy for both as Hao was trying to take her father to the hospital.

The video is reportedly a footage of the law enforcement process shot by the police.

According to the unverified video Hao argued that, although her health code was yellow, she had obtained a certificate from the community authority.

The video also showed that after failing to convince the police to let them pass, Hao tried to get back to the car to leave but the police officer blocked the door and did not allow her to leave.

The police officer pushed Hao who fell on the ground during argument. Hao's father got out of the car and slapped the officer after seeing his daughter on the ground, according to the video.

In another video circulating on Thursday, Hao further explained that she was taking her father to the hospital to get his medicine which has been out of stock in the city amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

She admitted in the video that she got a certificate for herself but did not obtain one for her father.

Hao said she and her father were still at home and will accept the punishment, adding that she will file a complaint over the case, according to the video.

A unverified screenshot of the certificate circulating on social media platforms showed that the community authorities said Hao was allowed to go to the hospital to get the drugs and that she had provided negative nucleic acid testing result within the previous 48 hours.

The issue triggered heated discussions among netizens. Some criticized the police for not showing sympathy over people's demands to see a doctor during the epidemic. This topic had been heatedly discussed in previous cases.

Others said that it would be better for Hao and his father to ask related authorities for help to deliver the drugs to their home instead of going to the hospital themselves without a green health code.

More people are magnifying the issue of Dandong's draconian anti-epidemic polices that have caused inconvenience to local people.

Dandong is China's biggest border city with a population of more than 2.3 million. 

According to media reports, Dandong has been under lockdown for about 60 days since April while the city only recorded less than 10 confirmed cases in the last week.

Railway in the city has been suspended since March. Airports have been suspended operation since April 2 and was expected to reopen by the end of July, media reported.

The community where Hao lives requires residents to take a nucleic acid test every day or their health codes will turn yellow, which means a person has risk of COVID-19 infection, according to media reports.

The authorities should take the public's demands and feelings into account when enforcing the law. The issue should be taken as an opportunity for local authorities to improve their methods to implement policies and enforce the law, observers said.