Commentary on Political Economy

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

 Chinese police parade suspected Covid rule-breakers through streets

Four people are named and shamed – a banned practice – in city of Jingxi; WHO warns of ‘trade-off’ as countries cut back on isolation periods


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Police guard a hotel in downtown Jingxi earlier this year

Staff and agencies

Thu 30 Dec 2021 02.00 GMT


Armed police in Jingxi, in southern China, have paraded four alleged violators of Covid rules through the streets, state media reported, a practice that was banned but which has resurfaced in the struggle to enforce a zero-Covid policy.


The four men were accused of smuggling people across China’s closed borders, and on Tuesday they were led through the streets wearing hazmat suits and bearing placards showing their name and photos. The state-run Guangxi daily reported the action was designed to deter “border-related crimes”.


A common practice during the Cultural Revolution, public shaming has long since been banned in China, and the Communist party-affiliated Beijing News said the Jingxi incident “seriously violates the spirit of the rule of law and cannot be allowed to happen again”.


The Global Times newspaper said that the courts and the Ministry of Public Security had issued various orders since the 1980s to ban the parading of criminal suspects, noting that officials themselves could now be punished. The most recent notice was issued by the ministry in February last year after a man in Hebei Province was tied to a tree for going out to buy cigarettes during lockdown.


Social media posts on the topic had received more than 350m views and more than 30,000 comments by Wednesday night, it reported.



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