Officials in Northeastern China Sacked as Locals Describe Escalating Virus Outbreak

Officials in Northeastern China Sacked as Locals Describe Escalating Virus Outbreak
Police officers clad in protective suits stand guard outside Jilin city's railway station in China's Jilin province on May 13, 2020. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)
Nicole Hao

Amid an escalating CCP virus outbreak in northeastern China, six local officials have been dismissed for failing to contain the virus.

The latest second wave outbreak first erupted in Shulan, a county-level municipality within Jilin city, Jilin Province.

Locals told The Epoch Times that the outbreak situation was more serious than how authorities portrayed it. They also complained about rising food prices following the outbreak.

The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, first broke out in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019. The virus quickly spread to all parts of the country.
After a period in March when local authorities throughout China proclaimed that there were little to no new infections, since April, regions of northeastern China confirmed a second wave outbreak.


The “patient zero” of the Shulan outbreak was diagnosed on May 7. She is a 45-year-old cleaning lady who works at the city’s police bureau.
Since then, the virus quickly spread within Shulan, as well as to districts within Jilin city, and Shenyang, the capital of the neighboring Liaoning Province.
Since May 12, all new infections announced by China’s National Health Commission are related to the outbreak in Shulan and Jilin.
Over the weekend, the Jilin provincial health commission announced five new diagnosed patients, who are from Shulan, as well as the Fengman and Chuanying districts in Jilin city.
On May 17, the commission also announced that one elderly person in Jilin city was diagnosed with COVID-19, but was not counted as a new COVID case because he or she died before the test result was announced.
The test result was announced on May 16, but the person had already died of cardiovascular problems, according to authorities.


Late evening on May 16, Li Pengfei was dismissed from his position as Chinese Communist Party boss of Shulan. Zhang Jinghui, deputy mayor of Jilin city, was named to take his place.

“This new appointment is not in line with convention,” said U.S.-based China affairs commentator Li Linyi.

Li said typically, the Party would promote a lower-ranking official to replace a dismissed one. But in the Shulan case, the Party did not promote the second-in-line, the Shulan mayor, to be the Party boss.

“It shows that the CCP superiors don’t trust that Party leaders in Shulan can control the outbreak,” Li said.

More dismissals were announced by the Jilin provincial government soon after: Liu Shijun, deputy director of the Jilin city health commission; Yue Xiaoyan, director of Shulan health bureau; Geng Jianjun, deputy Party boss of Shulan police bureau; Liu Hanyin, director of the Shulan center for disease control and prevention (CDC); and Xu Zibiao, director of the Fengman district CDC.
Hours prior to the announcement, Jilin city ordered all of the city’s private-run clinics and outpatient departments to shut down. All who need to visit a doctor must register at state-run hospitals instead.
By launching this regulation, anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms can only visit state-run hospitals.


Locals told the Chinese-language Epoch Times that there were more infections in Jilin than officially announced. They heard of people who were diagnosed as asymptomatic carriers, but were not counted into authorities’ tallies.

Several gave more details about confirmed patients that Shulan authorities announced. They include four police officers; one staff working at the Shulan government; one receptionist at the Shulan People’s Hospital; and one high school teacher.

Mr. Peng, a resident of Jilin city, also described the current state of panic: “People are crazily shopping for food and medicines… Prices have increased dramatically.”

Peng said some vegetables were triple, even five times, the price prior to the outbreak. Wheat flour prices increased by more than 10 percent in the past week.

Shulan residents previously told The Epoch Times on May 13 that the Shulan police bureau was closed due to several police officers being diagnosed with COVID-19.

A police officer’s wife told The Epoch Times: “All the diagnosed patients [at Shulan police bureau] are in mild condition, but we are in a panic because the virus spreads so quickly.”

Mr. Li lives at the Sihe Tianyuan residential compound in Fengman district, Jilin city, where he said several residents were diagnosed with the virus.

He said one such resident was Mr. Hao, a driver who recently returned from Shulan and had dinners with relatives and friends in Fengman district.

Hao transmitted the virus to his uncle and 23-year-old cousin, according to Li. The cousin works at the high-speed train vehicle maintenance department in Shenyang, the nearby capital of Liaoning Province. The cousin went back to Shenyang and spread the virus to more people.

Shenyang resident Mr. Li (unrelated to above-mentioned) told The Epoch Times that the Shenyang 463 Hospital, an air-force-operated hospital, was closed down due to a cluster outbreak.

“The whole hospital is locked down. Both people and vehicles are banned from entering or leaving the hospital. It [local authorities] said that one was infected inside, but you don’t know the real situation. You don’t know how many people died of the virus already,” Li added.

Locals also complained that authorities charged very high fees for those who are mandated to self-quarantine at hotel-modified quarantine centers in Shenyang, ranging from 6,860 yuan to 8,286 yuan (about $966 to $1,167) for the duration of 14 days.

Nicole Hao is a Washington-based reporter focused on China-related topics. Before joining the Epoch Media Group in July 2009, she worked as a global product manager for a railway business in Paris, France.
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