China’s everlasting COVID battle has not stopped generating new drama. In one episode this week, four people from Yingtan City of Jiangxi Province were punished for disobeying pandemic curbs and attending a funeral. 

Beijing News reports that on August 16, an elderly person died. His son-in-law and grandson traveled to pay condolences on the following day. Faking that they were going out for vegetables, the pair crossed a river to bypass checkpoints and visited the deceased. Two others later took the same route on August 20.

On August 22, the deceased was buried, and the family members attempted to sneak back to their homeplace. Unfortunately, staff from their community spotted them and called the police. All four were taken away, given administrative punishment, and taken to an isolation center.

Their health code was still green as they traveled home, indicating that all were coronavirus free.

The story was initially published by the Xinjiang Branch of the Public Security Bureau of Yingtan City on China’s Twitter-like platform Weibo. Hong Kong media Sing Tao Daily reports that it has sparked heated reactions on the internet. Some supported the authorities’ strict handling of the case; others opposed because filial piety is an inherent part of Chinese culture. Besides, they were COVID-free.

Due to the controversy, the Xinjiang police department removed the post on August 24. Despite this, the topic continued to gather significant attention. reports that the hashtag related to the incident attracted over 70 million views and 25,000 comments on Weibo as of August 25.

According to Chinese media Da Ji yuan, Guixi city where the elderly person died, has been on and off strict pandemic curbs since August 10. Although the official figure of positive cases was minimal, residents say the true situation is different.

Guixi resident by the name Li told the outlet that the pandemic in the city is serious. People are not allowed to go out, and no one has any clue when the lockdown will the lifted.

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