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Getting on the bus bound for quarantine in the early morning: 27 dead and overturned in Guizhou, China’s “anti-epidemic transit” | Past 24 hours | Corner International udn Global

2022/09/19 Corner 24 hours

The photo before the departure of the Guiyang bus in which the car accident occurred shows the scene of the driver wearing protective clothing driving in front of the vehicle.Figure / Weibo

【2022. 9. 19 China

Getting on the bus bound for quarantine in the early morning: 27 dead and overturned in the “anti-epidemic transfer” in Guizhou, China

“Why do you think you won’t be on that bus? We don’t speak up, everyone has the possibility…” At 2:40 a.m. on September 18 in Guizhou Province, China, a large bus departed from the provincial capital Guiyang Overturned on the highway and fell into the deep ditch beside the road. There were 47 people in the vehicle, 27 of whom are known to have died and the remaining 20 were taken to the hospital for treatment. The Guiyang Municipal Government confirmed that the accident bus was a “transport vehicle for people involved in the epidemic.” Except for the driver and a staff member, all the passengers on the bus were Guiyang residents who were expected to be sent to centralized isolation. After the news was exposed, it immediately sparked heated discussions in Chinese public opinion. Chinese netizens pointed out that the process of transporting residents of Guiyang by the bus was illegal in many ways, and they even questioned that the root cause of the tragedy was to achieve “social clearing”, under the clearing policy. , the people’s rights and safety have been sacrificed again and again, and some even pointed out that the bus overturning incident was a man-made disaster, and the criticism of “excessive epidemic prevention” has resurfaced.

The bus departed from Yunyan District, Guiyang at around 0:10 a.m. on the 18th, carrying 45 residents to the remote Libo County, Qiannan Prefecture, 250 kilometers away, for centralized isolation. At about 40:00, a rollover occurred on the Sanli Expressway, and the vehicle rolled over and fell into a deep ditch about 7 to 8 meters deep beside the road, killing 27 people and injuring 20. After the incident, relevant reports in the Chinese media initially did not mention the identity of any passengers and the purpose of the bus’s itinerary – but due to China’s strict epidemic prevention policy in order to achieve the “zero” goal, Guiyang has been closed since September. For about half a month, the entry and exit of people and vehicles have been strictly controlled. It is quite unusual for a large bus full of passengers to be able to leave the city, which has aroused suspicion among Chinese netizens.

The second suspicious thing is the time the vehicle was driven. Guizhou has mountainous terrain and difficult roads. Traffic accidents due to fatigue driving or other reasons have been heard from time to time. Therefore, as early as 2012, the Guizhou provincial authorities, at the request of the State Council, banned all passenger vehicles from 2:00 am to 5:00 am. After that, in 2018, the Central Government of China passed the “Safety Management Regulations for Road Passenger Transport Enterprises”, which officially stipulated that long-distance passenger transport should not be operated from 2:00 to 5:00 in the morning.

In other words, at the time of the accident, the accident bus should not have appeared on the highway at all, let alone the 250-kilometer distance. So what kind of vehicle and for what purpose can it be possible to ignore this traffic safety law and go on the road? Sensitive Chinese public opinion has already speculated that it was related to the epidemic shortly after the incident. On the other hand, in the relevant photos that circulated shortly after the incident, there was a scene of the driver wearing protective clothing driving in front of the vehicle. The photos also led public opinion to believe that the passengers on the bus may have been epidemic prevention or infection personnel.

The wreckage of the overturned bus body was towed away by an engineering vehicle.Figure / Sohu

In fact, on September 17, just before the car accident, the Guiyang Municipal Government reiterated at a press conference that “the decisive battle will be decisive and the society will be cleared”, and continued to carry out multiple rounds of nucleic acid testing. All kinds of angry voices of Chinese public opinion emerged, criticizing Guizhou for “clearing zero is more important than human life”, and until the evening of the 18th, the vice mayor of Guiyang, Lin, admitted at a press conference on the epidemic just now that the accident bus was a “anti-epidemic transit requisitioned vehicle”. Carried 45 “epidemic-related” residents in Yunyan District, Guiyang.

The anger of Chinese public opinion did not subside. Since the authorities in Guiyang, like many other Chinese cities that have experienced lockdowns, adopted the draconian measures of “one positive person and the whole building quarantined”, a large number of Guiyang residents are like passengers of the accident bus. In the same way, they were sent out of the city for centralized isolation without being diagnosed and possibly without close contact. Wang Jie, deputy secretary-general of the Guiyang Municipal Government, said on the 17th that the authorities have formulated a work plan to send “high-risk people” to other places on a large scale, and claimed that hotels in Guiyang are unable to fully accept quarantined people, so people must be sent to Guizhou. Other cities; on the 17th, 7,396 people had been sent out of Guiyang, and another 2,900 people were being transferred to other places for quarantine.

Some Chinese netizens on Weibo questioned that this kind of “transportation” is more likely to cause cross-infection, and some netizens expressed their dissatisfaction with the Guiyang government’s use of the word “epidemic-related personnel” who seem to refer to residents as criminals, and wrote:

“People involved in the epidemic. Why do I hear this word so awkward? What is the suspected word? Why do I feel like I use the word like a crime?”

Some Chinese netizens also commented that they focused on the illegal use of transfer buses, and asked whether the driver was fatigued to drive in the middle of the night. In addition, most of the staff on the bus wore protective clothing, whether it made the driver’s movement inconvenient and affected his concentration. It seems that there would be no car accidents without the epidemic, so can we blame the epidemic?” However, in the final analysis, the introduction of the transfer bus and the accompanying driving safety problems are all caused by the Chinese cities under lockdown, eager to complete the central The “Social Clearance” command – if not, why send truck after truck of residents to a place hundreds of kilometers away overnight?

The large-scale sending of residents at risk of infection to other places is not the original creation of the Guiyang Municipal Government, but was implemented for the first time by Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province, which has been closed twice. “Zero”, all the residents of the community with positive cases were forcibly sent to other places in the middle of the night. Subsequently, Hangzhou, Tianjin, Shanghai and other cities have implemented similar policies when the epidemic heats up.

In other words, what the Guiyang Municipal Government did is not an isolated case. After the serious traffic accident on the 18th that killed 27 people, dissatisfaction with this “transit policy” broke out in Chinese public opinion. Netizens angrily accused the Guizhou bus accident as a The man-made disaster caused by the “excessive epidemic prevention” that blindly pursues zero.

Chinese netizens questioned that the
Chinese netizens questioned that the “zero policy” was the main cause of the tragedy.Figure / Weibo

Chinese officials only reported that 2 people in Guizhou died of the infection during the epidemic, so some netizens also criticized:

“27 people were killed in the quarantine bus, and the whole of Guiyang is full of yang (sex), so 27 people will not die. How many people will be killed by this epidemic prevention policy?”

More Chinese netizens sarcastically described:

“Coronavirus fatality rate VS epidemic prevention policy fatality rate.”

As in the past, when major social incidents broke out in China, the Weibo official continued to vigorously suppress relevant criticisms or voices of doubt. As a result, the condolences and apologies expressed by the Guiyang municipal government for the bus accident seemed hollow. In the article that has been deleted, the author laments that, for the “social cleanup” that the authorities want, the public can only be placed by the government and sent to other places at will, and the safety of life seems to be no match for the political goal:

“You and I can’t even refuse to board the transfer bus that departed in the early morning… In fact, we were all on it, but the one that went down the hill was not the one we were sitting in for the time being.”

People in Guiyang undergo nucleic acid testing.Photo/Reuters
People in Guiyang undergo nucleic acid testing.Photo/Reuters

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The article is in Chinese

Tags: bus bound quarantine early morning dead overturned Guizhou Chinas antiepidemic transit hours Corner International udn Global

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