By HUIZHONG WU, Associated Press – Tuesday
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A nighttime bus crash that killed 27 people in southwest China this week has set off a storm of anger online over the harshness of the country’s strict COVID-19 policies.
A volunteer wearing protective gears stands watch near a COVID-19 testing site in Beijing, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)© Provided by Associated Press
The initial police report did not say who the passengers were and where they were going, but it later emerged they were headed to a quarantine location outside their city of Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou province.
The bus with 47 people on board crashed about 2:40 a.m. Sunday. City officials announced many hours later that the passengers were under “medical observation,” confirming reports they were being taken to quarantine.
A man wearing a face mask walks by a propaganda poster welcoming the 20th party congress, along a street in Beijing, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)© Provided by Associated Press
Following public anger, Guiyang fired three officials in charge of Yunyan district, where the residents had been picked up, the provincial government said Monday. Guiyang’s deputy mayor apologized at a news conference, bowing and observing a moment of silence.
Online, many wondered at the logic behind transporting people outside of Guiyang, accusing the government of moving them so that the city would no longer report any new cases.
“Will this ever end? On the top searches (on social media), there’s all sorts of pandemic prevention situations every day, creating unnecessary panic and making people jittery,” one person wrote. “Is there scientific validity to hauling people to quarantine, one car after another?”