China’s Normalization of COVID-19 Testing Draws Wide Criticism

Megacities in China have been setting up COVID-19 nucleic acid “sampling circles” (testing sites) within 15 minutes walking distance from anywhere in the city since the communist regime put out the requirement to normalize the testing nationwide on May 9. It has attracted wide criticism. Rights lawyers point out that it’s illegal.In Shenzhen, Xi’an, Beijing, and other large cities, the nucleic acid certificate valid for 48 hours has become a must for citizens to travel, enter schools and office buildings, take buses and subways, and go to restaurants and supermarkets. June 1 was the first day of the normalized nucleic acid testing in Zhengzhou, the capital of China’s central province Henan. Nucleic acid tests for all residents are required to be conducted every 48 hours according to the new regulation. Citizens have been complaining on Chinese social media that there are not enough testing sites in the city for the 10.35 million people, the waiting lines are too long, testing every 48 hours is too frequent, and people are unable to obtain the test results on time to go to work and study, and it’s disrupting people’s normal life. Residents queue to receive COVID-19 coronavirus tests as part of a mass testing program in Zhengzhou, in China’s central Henan Province, on Jan. 5, 2022. (STR/CNS/AFP via Getty Images) Three provinces and 28 cities across China have announced that they would implement the normalization of nucleic acid testing. They accounted for 41 percent of China’s GDP in 2021, involving a population of 420 million—29 percent of China’s population. The normalization policy faces many challenges, according to media and experts. Mainland Chinese securities firms’ recent research shows that the estimated cost of normalized nucleic acid testing in large cities would exceed China’s military spending in 2021, and China’s national medical insurance funds would be drained by it within three and a half years. So far, the huge COVID-19 testing cost has been mainly covered by the medical insurance, while local government finance has only covered about 20 percent. However, on May 26, the National Medical Insurance Administration issued a notice stating that “medical insurance funds shall not be used to pay for nucleic acid testing of large populations.” Local governments wouldn’t be able to cover it, and the cost eventually would be put on individual citizens by charging them for each test, raising taxes, or issusing special bonds for it, according to experts. Besides the cost, citizens have questioned other aspects of the normalization of COVID-19 testing, such as accuracy of the tests, insufficiently qualified testing personnel, and hidden costs put on individual citizens such as the long waiting time and the risk of cross-infection when waiting in line to be tested. Beijing is one of the cities that has started the normalized every-48-hour nucleic acid testing as the regime continues to implement strict pandemic control measures in the nation’s capital, which has triggered public anger. A resident questioned in a post on social media: “How many people can get off work before 5 pm when the testing sites close? However, the Beijing authorities require negative nucleic acid test results within 48 hours for people to go to work and return to their residential communities. Policies are getting stricter and stricter. I have fully cooperated and supported the pandemic prevention since the beginning, but now I’m so disappointed.” A resident of Beijing’s Xicheng District surnamed Zhang told The Epoch Times that no matter what regime or government, it must win the hearts of the people and cannot use its power to interfere with people’s living environment and freedom. A health worker takes a swab sample from a woman to be tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus at a swab collection site in Beijing on May 23, 2022. (Noel Belis/AFP via Getty Images) Chinese lawyers also pointed out that the Chinese communist regime’s COVID-19 control policies and measures are illegal. Rights lawyer Wu Shaoping and others have issued a “Statement of the Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Group on the COVID-19 pandemic,” saying that the various measures the regime has implemented infringe on citizens’ basic human rights, including limiting their freedom of movement by requesting testing results. Another statement has been circulating on major Chinese websites, allegedly from “a famous lawyer,” stating that “the freedom of movement of the public cannot be limited by the requirement of any kind of certificate. The epidemic control measures are temporary. If they are normalized, it will not only increase the burden on the common people, but more importantly it’s unconstitutional.” Gao Miao and Hong Ning contributed to the report. Follow Alex Wu is a U.S.-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on Chinese society, Chinese culture, human rights, and international relations.

China’s Normalization of COVID-19 Testing Draws Wide Criticism

Megacities in China have been setting up COVID-19 nucleic acid “sampling circles” (testing sites) within 15 minutes walking distance from anywhere in the city since the communist regime put out the requirement to normalize the testing nationwide on May 9. It has attracted wide criticism. Rights lawyers point out that it’s illegal.

In Shenzhen, Xi’an, Beijing, and other large cities, the nucleic acid certificate valid for 48 hours has become a must for citizens to travel, enter schools and office buildings, take buses and subways, and go to restaurants and supermarkets.

June 1 was the first day of the normalized nucleic acid testing in Zhengzhou, the capital of China’s central province Henan. Nucleic acid tests for all residents are required to be conducted every 48 hours according to the new regulation. Citizens have been complaining on Chinese social media that there are not enough testing sites in the city for the 10.35 million people, the waiting lines are too long, testing every 48 hours is too frequent, and people are unable to obtain the test results on time to go to work and study, and it’s disrupting people’s normal life.

Epoch Times Photo
Residents queue to receive COVID-19 coronavirus tests as part of a mass testing program in Zhengzhou, in China’s central Henan Province, on Jan. 5, 2022. (STR/CNS/AFP via Getty Images)

Three provinces and 28 cities across China have announced that they would implement the normalization of nucleic acid testing. They accounted for 41 percent of China’s GDP in 2021, involving a population of 420 million—29 percent of China’s population.

The normalization policy faces many challenges, according to media and experts.

Mainland Chinese securities firms’ recent research shows that the estimated cost of normalized nucleic acid testing in large cities would exceed China’s military spending in 2021, and China’s national medical insurance funds would be drained by it within three and a half years. So far, the huge COVID-19 testing cost has been mainly covered by the medical insurance, while local government finance has only covered about 20 percent.

However, on May 26, the National Medical Insurance Administration issued a notice stating that “medical insurance funds shall not be used to pay for nucleic acid testing of large populations.” Local governments wouldn’t be able to cover it, and the cost eventually would be put on individual citizens by charging them for each test, raising taxes, or issusing special bonds for it, according to experts.

Besides the cost, citizens have questioned other aspects of the normalization of COVID-19 testing, such as accuracy of the tests, insufficiently qualified testing personnel, and hidden costs put on individual citizens such as the long waiting time and the risk of cross-infection when waiting in line to be tested.

Beijing is one of the cities that has started the normalized every-48-hour nucleic acid testing as the regime continues to implement strict pandemic control measures in the nation’s capital, which has triggered public anger. A resident questioned in a post on social media: “How many people can get off work before 5 pm when the testing sites close? However, the Beijing authorities require negative nucleic acid test results within 48 hours for people to go to work and return to their residential communities. Policies are getting stricter and stricter. I have fully cooperated and supported the pandemic prevention since the beginning, but now I’m so disappointed.”

A resident of Beijing’s Xicheng District surnamed Zhang told The Epoch Times that no matter what regime or government, it must win the hearts of the people and cannot use its power to interfere with people’s living environment and freedom.

Epoch Times Photo
A health worker takes a swab sample from a woman to be tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus at a swab collection site in Beijing on May 23, 2022. (Noel Belis/AFP via Getty Images)

Chinese lawyers also pointed out that the Chinese communist regime’s COVID-19 control policies and measures are illegal.

Rights lawyer Wu Shaoping and others have issued a “Statement of the Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Group on the COVID-19 pandemic,” saying that the various measures the regime has implemented infringe on citizens’ basic human rights, including limiting their freedom of movement by requesting testing results.

Another statement has been circulating on major Chinese websites, allegedly from “a famous lawyer,” stating that “the freedom of movement of the public cannot be limited by the requirement of any kind of certificate. The epidemic control measures are temporary. If they are normalized, it will not only increase the burden on the common people, but more importantly it’s unconstitutional.”

Gao Miao and Hong Ning contributed to the report.

Alex Wu

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Alex Wu is a U.S.-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on Chinese society, Chinese culture, human rights, and international relations.