China: Beijing Police Persecute Thousands of Small Businesses for Alleged Lockdown Violations

An employee wearing a face mask stands near a temperature scanner and QR codes for health
AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Urban Management and Law Enforcement recently targeted over 3,500 local businesses — including restaurants, shopping malls, and commercial venues — for allegedly failing to enforce anti-epidemic prevention measures during the city’s latest outbreak of the Chinese coronavirus, the state-run Global Times reported Sunday.

Beijing’s Urban Management and Law Enforcement Bureau conducted thousands of public health inspections of Beijing businesses in recent days and allegedly found “hidden problems” among 3,503 venues.

“After conducting on-the-spot inspections, the local urban management department has required the responsible units to rectify the situation, handed over the cases to relevant departments for joint punishment, ranging from warnings, fines, suspensions of business according to law,” the Global Times reported June 19.

Beijing’s Urban Management and Law Enforcement Bureau additionally said on Sunday that it had “reprimanded” five Beijing restaurants for adopting “inadequate epidemic prevention measures.”

BEIJING, CHINA -JUNE 15: A woman walks by the closed Heaven Supermarket bar, which is at the centre of recent COVID-19 outbreak, on June 15, 2022 in Beijing, China. China’s capital is working to control a fresh COVID-19 cluster after dozens of people linked to a local nightclub tested positive for the virus. After easing restrictions earlier in the week, local authorities have initiated local mass testing and targeted lockdowns in addition to mandated proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours to enter most public spaces and entertainment establishments and bars in some districts have been ordered to close in an effort to maintain the country's zero COVID strategy. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

A woman walks by the closed Heaven Supermarket bar, which is at the center of recent COVID-19 outbreak, on June 15, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Beijing’s latest outbreak of the Chinese coronavirus began around June 9 and was reportedly traced to a nightclub called “Heaven Supermarket Bar” in the city’s most populous district of Chaoyang. Chinese Communist Party authorities swiftly locked down most of Chaoyang starting June 9 to contain the fresh cluster infection. Beijing’s municipal public security bureau launched a criminal probe into the owner of Heaven Supermarket Bar on June 14 for allegedly “impeding the prevention of infectious diseases.” District officials accused the bar of failing to enforce a municipal health protocol that requires all patrons to present a “green” health code before being allowed entry to any public space. The health code is displayed through a government-run smartphone app that contains the result and time of a person’s last Chinese coronavirus test.

Beijing’s crackdown on Chaoyang district last week spanned beyond Heaven Supermarket Bar, according to the Global Times, which reported the following on June 19:

A total of 44 companies in the Chaoyang district were reported on Tuesday [June 14] to lack of prevention measures, including a number of popular restaurants and supermarkets. Some employees in these restaurants were found not wearing masks, and some supermarkets did not strictly scan QR codes at the entrance.

Beijing’s government recorded zero new, symptomatic cases of the Chinese coronavirus on June 18, the Global Times reported on June 19 citing data from the Beijing Municipal Health Commission.

Beijing last battled a Chinese coronavirus epidemic starting on April 28, when it locked down much of Chaoyang to contain a primary school-centered outbreak of the disease. Chaoyang’s nightlife venues had just reopened on June 6 before the district again became the epicenter of Beijing’s newest Chinese coronavirus epidemic days later on June 9.


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