The northeastern city of Siping canceled the decision of implementing harsh punishment for people who avoided Covid tests. The first notice issued on Tuesday, May 31, was highly criticised and caused netizens’ anger. #Siping was a trend on social media even on June 2, as authorities deleted the controversial notice.
At the end of May, Siping City, Jilin province, in northeast China, announced that anyone who did not take obligatory COVID tests without any reason would get a “yellow code.”
The code has 4 colors: green, yellow, orange and red proportionate to healthy people, people who are checked for unusual temperature on the spot, people who nearly approach the positive cases and positive doubts cases, and people who tested positive and positive doubts cases.
This “yellow code” would limit citizens from going to residential areas and public places, forcing them to pay extra testing fees, be temporarily detained by police for 10 days, and fined about 75 dollars. Simultaneously, they would be on the list of dishonest people and exposed to the general public in the media.
According to the announcement, Siping city had decided on a massive nucleic acid testing for urban residents on June 2 from 6 a.m to 5 p.m. This acid nucleic testing round required all citizens to attend, and no one would be left behind.
For anyone who did not attend these nucleic acid tests without reason, the punishments would be under the “Law of the People’s Republic of China on Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases” and the “China’s Public Security Administrative Punishments Law.”
Epoch Times compiled some comments of Chinese netizens on Weibo as follows: Who gives them the right to do so? Residents detained and fined for not getting nucleic acid tests are not different from being robbed. It’s the same as being stolen by raiders. Who allows them to do this? Does Jilin have excess money? Isn’t it a waste of resources?
Twelve hours later, at 9:00 p.m. on May 31, Siping city deleted the announcement and replaced it with a new one, in which relevant information about the arrest, monetary fine, and publicly revealing the offenders’ personal information had disappeared, according to Global Times.
The new announcement changed the relevant measures at the same time. People who don’t get their nucleic acid tests twice will be labeled “yellow code” instead of their “Jixiang Code.” Residents’ “yellow code” will be canceled after actively taking their tests.
Chen Hao, a resident of Siping, Jilin, told the Epoch Times that the local authorities consider epidemic prevention as a political mission. The officials are afraid of losing their position; for them, it’s better to use harsher measures to fight against the epidemic. No matter the companies’ financial situation or the residents’ unemployment, they must block and control the citizens to maintain what is so-called social stability. Though no positive Covid cases were found in Siping, all residents are forced to take the tests.
Chen explained that the authorities still want to use the “Jixiang Code” as a digital handcuff to control residents’ behaviors while many companies in Jilin are in bankruptcy. How can we restore the local economy? Young people have left as they have no jobs, and they have to move to the Zhujiang Delta and Yangtze River Delta for work.
Those left behind are the elderly and children who are threatened by administrative detention. Siping TV has interviewed some citizens who did not have their tests, and were fined and detained or must apologize on the television. According to Chen Hao, they also have to pay all additional fees for tests.
On April 26, Siping required all the residents to have Covid tests. 278 people did not participate, including 14 people who were condemned, 138 were forced to pay for test fees, and the rest are under investigation. In mid-May, 390 residents were condemned, and 20 were administratively detained and fined 500 yuan (approximately 75 dollars). Nearly 500 people were forced to pay for tests that they did not take before.