The Personal Health Code is a tool to monitor the actual health situation of mainlanders during the pandemic. But recently, some citizens reported that the Henan government has arbitrarily changed the color of people’s health codes. Their codes suddenly turned red without any positive testing result or close contact. 

Among the affected people are depositors of rural banks in Henan whose accounts were frozen. The remaining subjects are individuals with unfinished real estate projects. Experts have warned that the government’s illegal manipulation of people’s health codes, if proved, will lead to serious consequences.

Many property owners in Zhengzhou say their health codes inexplicably turned red.

The health code (personal QR code) is assessed based on the individual’s health database. The code has three colors: green, yellow, and red. Green code holders will be allowed to operate, yellow code holders have limited activities, and red code holders are not allowed to operate. Red code refers to people with positive nucleic acid test results or exposed to F0 cases within 14 days.

According to Sohu, Wang Yuemei, who lives in Zhengzhou, Henan province, said that her health code changed to red on the afternoon of June 12. She has not left Henan in the past month. After that, Wang quickly went for a nucleic acid test and the result was negative. Wang said, “I was panicking and didn’t dare to go anywhere.”

She bought a property under the Zhongyong Zhongyuan Grand View project in Zhengzhou, Henan for more than 300 thousand dollars last year. The project was supposed to be delivered this year but was disputed. Eventually, Wang phoned the local authorities and her code turned green. However, she did not know why her code changed color like that.

Ding Lu, who lives in Zhengzhou, also had a red code on the evening of June 11. Like Wang Yuemei, he also did a nucleic acid test, and the result was negative. However, his code did not return to green either.

Ding Lu is currently a homeowner at the Kangqiao Jiuxiyuan project, but it is suspended. He reported the matter to local authorities and left his identity information at a branch of the Zhengzhou Bank.

Ding then called more than 10 agencies, but still has no answer as to why his code was red. On June 14, his code suddenly turned green. He still doesn’t know what happened.

National Business Daily reports that Zhang Shu, Ma Ming and Zhao Jing (pseudonym) are all Sunac Zhongyong Zhongyuan Grand View Project owners in Zhengzhou, Henan. Due to various reasons, the construction has been delayed. All three have a red health code on June 12.

An owner of Kangqiao Jiuxi Garden, a property owner in a construction in Zhengzhou that is under dispute, also said that her health code was red on June 11. Other owners of the Kangqiao Jiuxiyuan project also have the health code turned red.

Previously, depositors at Henan rural bank also had a red health code, even though they were not positive for Covid.

Since mid to late April this year, many rural banks in Henan province closed their withdrawal services. Unable to withdraw money, many depositors rushed to the local branches to protect their interests.

Southern Metropolis Daily reported that the health codes of depositors traveling to Zhengzhou all turned red.

Lin Ying (pseudonym), from Inner Mongolia, told Da Ji Yuan on June 14 that she arrived in Zhengzhou on the evening of June 12. Lin was also among the depositors affected, and her health code suddenly turned red.

Sina recorded another case on June 14. Mr. Deng, a Ha Nam Rural Bank depositor, said that on the evening of June 11, he and several depositors who wanted to claim their savings tried scanning at a location in Zhengzhou. Their health code results were red. After careful examination, Deng discovered that the color variation of the Health Code was not in line with the norm.

Regarding the above cases, experts said that the Henan government’s turning the health rule into a stabilizing tool has caused great social concern.

Xin Tang Ren reported that Zhao Hong, a China University of Political Science and Law professor, had an interview with Chinese media Caixin on June 15. He said that people can’t do anything without health codes. The health code is roughly equivalent to an individual’s second passport. If the government arbitrarily turns the health law into a tool to limit the individual’s movement, this is a “very scary thing.”

Zhao Hong said that companies developed the health code in cooperation with the government. This is a government action and can only be used for disease prevention. Personal information cannot be leaked arbitrarily.

He said that turning the health code red is not only done by banks.

If the health code is misused, it is similar to opening Pandora’s box. With digital technology’s help and information technology, when the government abuses power, it takes freedom away from individuals.

Wang Xizin, a Peking University Law School professor, also had an interview with Southern Metropolis Daily. Wang said that the medical rule and the abuse of power have turned the health code into a “code of maintaining social stability.” This is a simple and gross abuse of administrative power.

Human rights lawyer Teng Biao told Radio Free Asia that, in this case, the Henan government may have violated the Personal Information Protection Act and the Infectious Diseases Prevention Act. At the same time, they are also suspected of illegally obtaining and leaking citizen information. It is also a violation of personal privacy.

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