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Police incident in Dandong draws heated response online

By CAO YIN | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-06-23 21:51

A statement from local police in Dandong, Northeast China's Liaoning province, which announced punishments levied on a woman and her father for their alleged refusal to follow epidemic control measures and attacking the police, has triggered public controversy after video clips were made public on Thursday.

The woman was given 10-day administrative detention for obstructing police in the performance of their duty, and her father received a criminal coercive measure that could result in further charges.

However, many netizens considered the punishments too heavy given the two were on their way to the hospital despite the fact they were holding a yellow health code - a code that means the holder's movement should be restricted from many public venues.

By 7 pm on Thursday, the topic has been viewed 790 million times on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, with 167,000 related posts.

The publicity department in Dandong responded on Thursday local authorities are aware of the controversy and will look into the issue, according to Jimu News, a news portal of Chutian Metropolis Daily based in Hubei province.

The Dandong public security bureau's branch in Zhenxing district said in statement on Wednesday the incident happened at about 6 pm on Tuesday. A 41-year-old woman, surnamed Hao, and her 70-year-old father refused to abide by epidemic control measures after they were found carrying yellow health codes.

The woman argued with the police officer on duty who stopped her car, and her father stepped forward to strike the officer in the face, the police statement said.

Colored health codes play an important role in fighting COVID-19. Green codes guarantee access to public areas and red ones serve as a warning of infection or possible infection. People will see yellow codes if they have had close contact with infected or possibly infected people or come from a place with epidemic risk.

A video clip of the incident was posted online. In the footage, the woman and her father are stopped by a police officer at a checkpoint. The daughter gets out of the car and argues with the officer, claiming she was sending her father to the hospital. She also said the local residential community had issued a traffic permit for her. The two engage in a shoving match before the father steps forward to slap the police officer.

The police statement and the video quickly went viral on Chinese social media, sparking widespread attention and heated discussion.

Some netizens expressed sympathy for the woman and her father, saying such punishments were too severe. In China, criminal coercive measures include criminal detention and surveillance, but the police in Dandong did not specify what the measure exactly was for the father.

But some also commented the pair should be held responsible as they did not abide by the epidemic control measures.

On Thursday, the daughter told Chinese media she carried a negative nucleic acid test result taken within 48 hours and a pass card provided by her community when the incident happened, but her father did not.

She said she understands the epidemic control measures in this special period, calling for the public to cooperate with local authorities' anti-epidemic work. But she added she would apply for a review of the punishment.

People carrying identity cards and the relevant documents can go to public security departments to apply for such a review if they do not agree with the decision.

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