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In China, a bus accident, symbol of the excesses of the zero Covid policy, triggers the anger of citizens

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Despite the virtual silence of the official media, the bus accident which, on a highway in the province of Guizhou, in the southwest of China, caused the death of twenty-seven passengers and injured twenty others, on the night of Saturday September 17 to Sunday September 18, scandalizes the population. The topic has been viewed more than 600 million times on social media. These passengers were indeed people a priori in perfect health but who were sent to quarantine, more than 200 kilometers from their home, because they lived in Yunyan, a district of Guyang, the regional capital, where positive cases of Covid-19 had been reported. They were therefore, according to Chinese terminology, direct or indirect contact cases.

Although bus traffic is prohibited between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. in these mountainous regions, the accident occurred at 2:40 a.m. It is therefore that the authorities did not hesitate to free themselves from their own rules by having people evacuate overnight in the name of the zero Covid strategy.

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In addition, photos show the bus with the driver wearing a full suit, mask and protective visor. Many Internet users wonder how it is possible to drive a bus with such equipment. Especially since in these buses, in the name of the zero Covid policy, it is forbidden to open the windows, put on the air conditioning and of course to take the slightest break. A rumor claims that the authorities of Guyang had decided on September 16 to do everything to end the circulation of the virus before Monday 19. “The regional and local officials who gave the order to reach zero virus in three days are criminally responsible for the twenty-seven deaths”writes a user. “This accident is squandering the trust of the whole society”, testifies a second. The accident is all the less accepted as the virus “only killed two people in Guizhou province” since 2020, recalls a third.

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According to authorities, around 10,000 people were placed in these regional quarantine centers on Sunday. Gao Yu, an online media leader Caixinposted on social networks a comment that could get him in trouble but sums up the fed up of the population: “Let’s wake up, let’s get back to normal. Let us resolutely oppose systematic testing of the population, zero Covid and the closure of the country”, he writes.

Harsh censorship

On the other hand, Hu Xijin, columnist for the GlobalTimes who tried on Sunday to put out the fire by explaining that the accident had to be dissociated from the zero Covid policy, is being severely insulted. Among the most popular comments, this one: “Hu Xijin, if you dare not criticize the authorities while speaking on behalf of the people, please shut up. Why do you always have to lie to please the wicked? »

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