Clashes and protests: Hubei residents rejected by Jiangxi for fear of epidemic
by Lu Haitao

Thousands clash with the police who repel people from Hubei over suspicions, they are still infected with the coronavirus. Authorities have lifted Hubei from isolation, but checkpoints and controls are still operative in many places. Mistrust in official propaganda, which proclaims that the epidemic has been eradicated.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Thousands of inhabitants of Huangmei County (Hubei) took to the streets yesterday because their fellow citizens from Hubei were refused entry to the nearby city of Jiujiang (Jiangxi).

The protest was sparked by a clash between people from Hubei and Jiangxi police. The latter was not allowing people and vehicles from Hubei to enter because they are still considered infected with the Covid-19 coronavirus. The police and crowd clashed and some police cars were overturned.

The episode reveals mistrust in official statistics which now only speak of "imported" cases in China, while the National Health Commission ensures that the whole country is now free from the epidemic.

As of March 25, government authorities ordered an end to the isolation imposed on the cities of Hubei since January 23 last. The city of Wuhan, considered the epicenter of the epidemic, will remain isolated (or semi-isolated) until April 8.

But there are still checkpoints across China and many cities are still in self-isolation to avoid contagion from the outside. Official media say there are no new infections, but people still regard Hubei people as a high risk of contagion group. In recent days, Beijing has also implemented stricter isolation measures.

Videos released online (visible in this article) show thousands of people from Huangmei (Hubei) attempting to cross the bridge over the Yangtze River, which connects Huangmei with the city of Jiujiang (Jiangxi). The demonstrators marching on the bridge, shout slogans like "Hubei, come on! (Hubei Jia you!)" and they clash with the Jiangxi police who want to block them. Protesters turned over several police cars.

Huangmei Communist Party Secretary, Ma Yanzhou, came to the bridge and tried to persuade the protesters to disperse, ensuring that the local authorities were already reaching an agreement.

The slogan "Hubei, come on!" often appears in the official media, but the people of Hubei continue to be discriminated against. Many provinces continue to have an entry ban for people from Hubei, who are not allow to return to live in the apartment they have rented, or to work. Several of them now have problems in finding a job.

After the video was released on social media, the comments reiterate that the conflicts and checkpoints in China show mistrust of official propaganda that continues to ensure that the epidemic is under control.