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In China, Employees Who Allegedly Breach COVID-19 Rules Get Jail

Jonathan Walker
Jonathan loves talking politics, economics and philosophy. He carries unique perspectives on everything making him a rather odd mix of liberal-conservative with a streak of independent Austrian thought.
Published: January 18, 2022
A worker wearing a face mask looks out from an entrance of a hospital toward the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
A worker wearing a face mask looks out from an entrance of a hospital toward the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (Image: HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, the Chinese regime has taken strict action against people who breach containment rules. Recently, Beijing detained three people for a period of up to four years after they were found to have violated COVID-19 regulations that resulted in a viral outbreak in the port city of Dalian.

The three individuals committed the violations while working at a cargo company in mid-November 2020. They were found to have failed to ensure that all employees followed these four rules: wore face masks; were properly tested; were quarantined if suspected of infection, and avoided visiting any public venue after work hours.

The communist regime claims that these violations allowed four infected people to spread the virus to 83 individuals. The company’s name is not known but is in the frozen goods sector. 

“The company’s controller, its legal representative, and a supervisor were given prison terms from 39 to 57 months last week. The company was fined 800,000 yuan ($125,500),” Bloomberg reported.

Beijing has previously claimed that coronavirus might transmit via frozen goods. But this theory has been disputed by several experts. In an interview with NPR, Emanuel Goldman, a microbiologist at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, said the chances of getting infected by a frozen package are as low as winning the lottery. “And it would have to be one of those lotteries with very few winners… It’s very unlikely that you would get the virus from food,” he added.

Many believe that Beijing singled out the three people who violated the COVID-19 rules to send a harsh warning to the public. In late December when the city of Xi’an faced a new wave of infection, authorities warned that anyone driving would be sent to jail. 

More recently, Beijing authorities have instructed residents to avoid all Olympic vehicles when the Winter Games take place in February. Even if a vehicle gets in an accident, residents have been instructed not to help the victims. 

Communist China not only jails people who violate its authoritarian COVID-19 rules; it also imprisons individuals who report the truth about the virus in the regime. In Dec. 2020, a 38-year-old former lawyer Zhang Zhan was sentenced to four years in jail after she had honestly reported about the Wuhan lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic. She was arrested for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” She was sentenced on charges of disseminating false information.

In an interview with The Guardian, Zhang’s lawyer Ren Quanniu called her imprisonment a “warning to others.” Ren’s legal license was revoked due to representing Zhang. 

“No matter if you are citizen journalists or independent media, things that are so-called ‘sensitive’ and do not conform to the calibre of propaganda are not allowed to be said. If you make these things public, you may encounter similar results like Zhang Zhan. This is a warning to others,” Ren stated.