In her opinion, the forced quarantine was utterly unreasonable, and it did not stand on any legal grounds. She tried various means to protect her rights. Wang reasoned with the COVID prevention staff, asked other lawyers for help, and posted her situation on social media. All of her efforts were in vain.
Wang exposed all the details on May 20 in an article she posted on her WeChat public account. She mentioned that government officials asked her to delete her articles and videos. WeChat deleted her article one day after it was published.
It was not the first time that Wang had traveled to Wuhan Railway Station from Zhengzhou East Railway Station. She rode the high-speed train to Wuhan on May 14. At the exit of Wuhan Railway Station, COVID prevention staff checked her itinerary and Wuhan’s policy about the Zhengzhou area. They told her it was fine for travelers from that area. They asked her to do a COVID test and allowed her to exit the railway station. She traveled back to Zhengzhou successfully the same day. However, she experienced a completely different situation when she traveled along the same route less than a week later.
Lawyer Wang Shengsheng’s health code was green (clear). There was no warning for her to travel to places on her itinerary. Her COVID test results were consistently negative for a few days in a row. She stayed in a low-risk zone for the past thirty days, but Wuhan marked the entire Zhengzhou Jinshui District and Zhengzhou Erqi District as high–risk zones. As a result, authorities made her register at the COVID prevention center in Wuhan Railway Station and quarantined her immediately for ten days. Even if she just needs to transfer to another train in Wuhan, she still must finish the quarantine first before she can get on another train.
Wang scolded Wuhan’s terrible COVID prevention policy. Her criticism irritated the staff. They confiscated her ID and openly challenged her: “I have the authority to deal with your ID before your information is registered.” Then a police officer came in and warned her that travelers must cooperate with the quarantine policy, or else they may be detained.
She immediately notified her client and the judge that she could not show up in court. Then she requested to go back to Zhengzhou because her two children were at home. She promised to get back home in the evening, but they denied her. She was told that Wuhan used to allow travelers to go back immediately, but the current policy no longer allowed it.
Authorities notified the COVID prevention staff in charge of the court’s area to take her to the quarantine site. She decided to stay at the railway station the whole night. Other travelers suggested that she post a video on douyin.com (the Chinese version of TikTok). She did not have an account, so she opened WeChat Channels and posted a video to share her situation and emotion with her friends. She also called the government hotline numerous times, but none of them allowed her to travel back home. They said that her situation has been escalated to higher-level authorities, but she did not receive any response until 1 AM.
|Wang’s friend sent a thick quilt and comforter to her|
(Photo: ChinaAid source)
A friend brought Wang a quilt and comforters. Her client was worried, so they called the government hotline several times. Wang Shengsheng wanted to sleep but was interrupted by the train several times.
The situation changed on the morning of May 18. COVID prevention staff bargained to take her the court and back if she stops posting on social media. Wang agreed.
Her incident drew a lot of attention on the internet. Authorities contacted her law firm when she just arrived home. Wang received phone calls from the Cyberspace Administration of Wuhan and the Wuhan Justice Bureau, requesting her to delete the online content. They said they would deal with other Weibo accounts after she removes her content. She promised to do something after she rested. Wang did not delete her videos, knowing the accounts that shared her content would be reported or removed.
She criticized and reflected on China’s covid prevention policy at the end of her article. She said:
We live in a society dominated by abused power. The Wuhan government won my respect because they force me to delete my content, but instead tried to convince me to delete my content. In addition, Wuhan’s quarantine, all free of charge, is a civilized, non-discriminatory arrangement made by Wuhan to reach its prevention goals. They won respect for themselves. This characteristic also exists in many of my friends from Wuhan. They are smart, flexible, kind-hearted, decent, hardworking, and bold. But not sure about the negative effects of this incident. Will it make the Wuhan government more cooperative?
If the COVID prevention policy is not changed, the COVID prevention practice will not change, and the various madness to achieve the goals will not cease. The goals are critical to keeping government officials’ position and the huge profit behind covid prevention is also a significant driving force.
When I talked with the COVID prevention staff, none of them thought the China-style COVID prevention practice would ever end. They do not know what they will do if COVID prevention ends. They all think China is different and will keep enforcing its policies.
Of course, it is up to higher officials’ decisions.
I cannot see the far future either. Now that COVID prevention is part of daily life, when will the government produce laws about it? After all, we are all promoting the growth or death of civilization through our interaction.”
Wang Shengsheng is a renowned Christian Human Rights lawyer. Over the years, she has been promoting China’s human rights and rule of law through her frontline work. Because of that, she has been terminated by her previous employer and the Chinese government does not allow her to work for another law firm. Her legal license was once revoked. Her husband Chen Yixuan is also a renowned Christian human rights lawyer. He worked on multiple, sensitive cases. When faced with persecution, she said:
I try my best to uphold kindness, and dignity and seek rule of law, human rights, and justice. I believe in Jesus Christ. So many bold people who reject injustice are arrested, threatened, and have their personal liberty deprived. I will not stop paying attention and expressing my feelings. If I lose my personal liberty, I will fight until the end.
~Yu Bing, China Aid Special Reporter