China, the country hit hardest by the novel coronavirus, is desperately implementing the death penalty in at least one province to control the worrying growth of the deadly disease.
The High Court in Heilongjiang, a province in northeast China, announced a battery of crimes with punishments ranging from years in jail to execution.
The Jan. 31 announcement was made as the country’s central government struggles to control the outbreak.
Intentional transmission of the virus, destroying or stealing public property, and producing counterfeit medicine are all crimes that are now punishable by death in Heilongjiang.
Other crimes are punished with harsh jail time, likely intended to maintain the integrity of quarantines established throughout the country.
The no-nonsense announcement comes as China struggles against the tide of the coronavirus.
China reported around 300 infected individuals on Jan. 21, a number that has ballooned to over 23,000 in two weeks with no signs of slowing.
An additional 23,000 may also be carrying the disease, but a lack of test kits prevents the Chinese government from posting accurate numbers.
Many countries, the United States included, have instituted travel bans to the virus-stricken country in an effort to contain the pathogen.
In China, the situation looks bleak.
Stores in the worst-hit cities are barely stocked before being stripped bare by those trapped in the quarantine zone. A shortage of adequate masks, medicine, and test kits means the spread of the virus is now a reality of life in infected cities.
If the outbreak continues to spread across China, even the communist party’s enforcers, the police, could soon find themselves facing a problem that’s too big for them.
Chinese police have been recorded employing various thuggish tactics, from harsh intimidation to using drones to harass citizens spotted violating a mask order.
Walking around without a protective face mask? Well, you can’t avoid these sharp-tongued drones! Many village and cities in China are using drones equipped with speakers to patrol during the #coronavirus outbreak. pic.twitter.com/ILbLmlkL9R
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) January 31, 2020
If the virus continues to grow, the very fabric of China’s ruling communist party will be tested.
So far, the reported censorship of information, brutal quarantine enforcement, and the unprepared state of the regime does not bode well for its future standing in the country.
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