Chinese Authorities Detain Teacher Who Suggested that China Should ‘Try to Coexist’ with CCP Virus

By Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao
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.
August 14, 2021 Updated: August 18, 2021

Chinese authorities recently detained a teacher for 15 days after he suggested that the country should try to “coexist” with the CCP Virus.

The detention had the effect of deterring what had been lively online debate between netizens on whether the Chinese regime should abandon its zero-tolerance approach to outbreaks of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the country grapples with the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Since early 2020, the Chinese regime has adopted strict lockdown and quarantine policies in attempts to control the spread of the CCP Virus. These severe restrictions have resulted in many citizens being deprived of basic living needs and support.

On July 31, Zhang Wenhong, one of China’s top COVID-19 experts and director of the infectious disease unit at Shanghai Huashan Hospital, posted an article on his blog in which he warned that the CCP virus will remain present for a long time, like the Spanish flu. He called on the authorities to find “the wisdom to coexist with the virus.”

Zhang didn’t oppose the CCP’s strict control methods, but suggested an open mind to face the facts.

On Aug. 7, state-run People’s Daily posted an essay from Gao Qiang, China’s former health minister and general counsel at the Chinese Health Economics Association, in which he criticized Zhang’s suggestion to “coexist with the virus.” He said that the regime should launch even stricter control measures to eliminate the virus by human force.

Gao argued that the coexist policy was being used by the United States and other democratic countries use, and criticized them as “a misstep in COVID decision-making caused by the deficiencies in their political mechanism and the result of upholding individualism.”

“[Humans should] use a strict isolation method to cut off the virus’s transmission as quickly as possible. This can quarantine the virus in a small space and let it [the patients] self-eliminate [the virus] or self-destruct,” Gao wrote. “I think the relationship [between the virus and humans] is that only one of the two can exist, or you have to die to make sure I am alive.”

To support his theory, Gao claimed: “There’s been no coexistence with viruses in the long term across human history,” without mention of the Spanish flu (influenza) and other viruses that have existed in the world for decades.

He also suggested that China close its borders more tightly to avoid the virus reentering.

In support of Gao, a senior researcher at Beijing think tank Kunlunce claimed on Aug. 8 that the “coexistence theory is capitulationism.”

Faced with the worsening outbreak in China, many Chinese people couldn’t buy into Gao’s logic, fueling the online debate for several days. That ended when the teacher was detained.

‘Please Don’t Criticize Me’

The teacher, Zhang Guoliang, was detained on Aug. 11. The city police bureau announced that the middle school teacher from Fengcheng city in eastern China’s Jiangxi Province would be held for 15 days.

The arrest was over Zhang’s comment on a report in state-run media The Paper about the severe outbreak in Yangzhou city in eastern Jiangsu Province on the Chinese social media platform Toutiao on Aug. 10.

He wrote: “Yangzhou isn’t big in area or in population. Is it possible for [the regime] to test the ‘coexist with virus’ model in Yangzhou, which means release the strict controls. Then we can see the consequences, which can help [the regime] modify its virus control measures. This is just a suggestion. Please don’t criticize me!”

Zhang deleted his comment on Aug. 11 and posted, “I sincerely regret the fault I made … I eagerly beg your pardon and accept the punishment from the bottom of my heart.”

When other Chinese media reported that Zhang was just one of the Chinese netizens detained for their social media post, The Paper quoted two lawyers from Shanghai who said Zhang didn’t violate any law or rule because he had just proposed a potential solution that he thought was good.

The Paper then presented the lawyers’ opinion to the Fengcheng City Government and the Fengcheng City Political and Legal Affairs Commission on Zhang’s behalf, but both refused to change their stance and simply answered: “We will read the case documents.”

Economic Impact

Epoch Times Photo
Health workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) work at the entrance to the Legendale Hotel in the Wangfujing shopping district in Beijing, China on July 29, 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images)

Since the CCP virus emerged in Wuhan in late 2019, the Chinese regime has not paid stimulus checks to its people. When the regime locked down residential compounds, the regime didn’t supply basic needs to the residents.

The “COVID Zero” policy has badly damaged the Chinese economy, which experts say isn’t reflected in the official data published by the regime. Reuters reported on Aug. 9 that China’s loans in July were about half of what they were in June because of the strict lockdown policies that started on July 20.

Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao
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.