An image widely shared on China’s internet shows the quarantine transport bus in Guizhou on the night of the fatal accident, the driver in full hazmat gear.
As anger flared across Chinese social media yesterday following the deadly crash in Guizhou of a passenger bus transferring positive Covid cases, Gao Yu (高昱), the deputy executive editor and head of investigations at Caixin Media, posted a reflection on the tragedy to his WeChat friend group that was subsequently shared outside the chat.
In his post, Gao urged an end to China’s zero Covid policy, which he argued was unscientific, pursued out of unnecessary fear, and out of step with the rest of the world. “We must wake up! We must return to normalcy!” he wrote.
As the post was shared more widely on the internet, censors moved quickly to stamp it out. An archived version is still available from China Digital Times.
Our translation of the post follows.
For someone to be afraid of Covid is completely normal, and something understandable. When I stand and look down from the third floor, I feel fearful too. But what is not normal, and what is not understandable is to hold 1.3 billion Chinese people in bondage because an extremely small number of people could contract Covid and die.
Right now the entire world is declaring that the Covid pandemic has ended. But in this huge country still, an entire building of people can be dragged away to quarantine because a single person is positive, and an entire city can be forcibly locked down. Entire countries are living normally. But still there are people [here] holding their copies of the People’s Daily and saying that China’s epidemic prevention and control policies are the most scientific, the most humane, and the greatest.
China’s population is huge, [they say], so even if the number of deaths is at just one in ten thousand, then out of 1.3 billion Chinese there will be 130,000 who die. Can’t you be responsible for those 130,000 people? Sure, but the number of people who die each year in car accidents is far greater than the number who die of Covid. And why don’t you prohibit the driving of cars?
So far in Guizhou, not a single person has died of Omicron. But the fear of the possible spread of Omicron has put six million people under lockdown and has resulted in the forced removal of 30,000 people to quarantine facilities, of which some 10,000 have been distributed to other cities.
And now, 27 people who were possibly infected have been killed in an accident that happened during transport [to a quarantine facility outside the city]! Just look at this doomed driver who doesn’t know what’s even happening, and he wearing a hazmat suit and two layers of masks, and senselessly he’s wearing goggles too, and probably two layers of protective gloves. And for the entire journey, he was prohibited from using the air conditioning. And it was 2:30 AM. This is the foggy trance in which this bus was driven toward death.
We must wake up! We must return to normalcy!
Resolutely oppose PCR testing of the whole population!