When COVID-19 first broke out in China’s Wuhan, a citizen sued the authorities for their obscurity about the virus. Little did he know, that his decision only brought about months of trouble and harassment.
In early 2020, Shenzhen citizen Zhang Hai took his father to Wuhan for leg injury treatment. He had no hindsight that the city was at the time the epicenter of the first-ever coronavirus flare-up. His father contracted the virus and died while at a hospital in Wuhan.
Zhang later filed a lawsuit against the Wuhan authorities, demanding they be responsible for hiding the true situation around the pandemic.
According to Chinese media Da Ji Yuan, his legal effort resulted in him being a target of harassment by the local police.
Then, in November last year, Zhang suddenly found his bank card no longer working. He said the Bank of China Shenzhen Nantou Sub-branch told him that his card was suspended because he was under investigation by the Wuhan Public Security. He called the department and they refused that they were blocking his bank card, but admitted that he was being investigated.
His cards in other banks were also frozen.
Zhang said having no working card had been greatly inconvenient as all shopping places in China use Alipay, a popular Chinese mobile payment app. He said he had to queue at banks to deposit or withdraw cash, which would require him to present an ID card and provide a signature.
On June 1 this year, Zhang went to the China Shenzhen Nantou Sub-branch again to ask about his card. The bank required him to prove that he was indeed Zhang Hai, then it said he violated the bank’s risk mechanism. But when Zhang asked about relevant documents and terms about the violation, the staff did not provide any.
The staff then said the manager would deal with Zhang’s case, but the person never showed up.
Zhang told the outlet that if he really had any problem, the bank would alert the local authorities to investigate him. But the officials had looked at his case multiple times and nothing has been concluded yet. Zhang said it means he was clean of misconduct and has no flaw for them to dwell on.
Zhang said he had been prevented from reaching foreign media also. He went back to Wuhan last summer to handle his inheritance left by his father. In August, an American journalist approached him for input about the COVID-19 pandemic. The neighborhood committee drove the journalist away as soon as they figured it out.
Then, four police officers were dispatched to his staying place and blocked his house. Finally, they became enraged and blocked his house’s keyhole before departing.