Chinese Freight Drivers Trapped in Trucks Face Discrimination

January 15, 2021 Updated: January 15, 2021

In late January 2020, when the CCP virus epidemic was serious in Hubei, a truck driver could not return to Hubei after transporting goods due to the outbreak and was blocked from getting off the highway. Now, the epidemic has broken out again in Hebei Province, and the same thing is happening to Hebei drivers who are trapped in their vehicles and not allowed to refuel, eat, go to stores, or stay in a hotel.

The Shijiazhuang municipal government in Hebei province announced on Jan. 5 that the city’s highways were closed, passenger stations were temporarily shut down, and trains and airline passengers were required to show a negative nucleic acid test certificate taken within 72 hours to leave the city. The city of Shijiazhuang is on lockdown.

Shijiazhuang’s lockdown has trapped a large number of Hebei freight drivers whose license plates are headed by the character “Ji” (meaning Hebei Province).

Mr. Zheng, a truck driver from Xingtai City, Hebei Province, told The Epoch Times about his experience. “Shijiazhuang is now in a strict lockdown. Both trucks and cars are not allowed to enter or exit.”

At about 6:00 a.m. on Jan. 6, Mr. Zheng shipped a batch of tiles from Tianjin Municipality to a designated warehouse in Shijiazhuang. He did not know about the lockdown at that time, and the boss of the receiving party told him directly that the city was closed and he could not unload.

He had no choice but to live on bread and water in his car for a few days, and on the 9th, he had to find someone to help him unload the goods by himself.

He told The Epoch Times that the gas in his truck could only last for about ten days, and that he could only boil water but not cook, so he made instant noodles every day. He said, “Although the conditions on the truck are poor, I could still put up with it. I bought instant noodles and snacks, but forgot to buy a bowl, so I could only eat noodles in the bags.

“I don’t want to stay (in the truck) for one more day, but I can’t go anywhere now. I can only eat cup noodles. If I’m not in the truck, I’ll get off and have a walk. I can’t go anywhere else. The gas can burn for another eight or ten days, but not longer than that. I can’t live in the truck forever. Eating and drinking is a problem.”

Mr. Zheng said he hadn’t been home for several months, and the epidemic in his hometown, Xingtai was also very serious. His mother was in tears when he talked to her by video chat.

Many Drivers Trapped in Trucks

Mr. Zheng also revealed that there are countless drivers like him who have become trapped.

“In the Shijiazhuang area, whether you are on the way, or inside the city, all the stores are closed. I returned to the truck today (Jan. 12). I pity myself. If you are not a driver you can not understand our mood. It’s too difficult.”

Four of his freight friends were also trapped in Shijiazhuang, spending days in their trucks. They don’t know how long they can hang on.

“They all live in their trucks. They won’t let you stay in hotels or apartments now. Unless you call the police, then they’ll take you there and you have to do the nucleic acid test,” said Mr. Cheng.

Hengshui freight drivers are also involved.

Another freight driver in Hengshui City, Mr. Qi, also experienced being rejected and treated differently.

Mr. Qi and his father were transporting car parts to Anshan City, Liaoning Province on Jan. 5. When they were refueling in the Tangshan service area, the staff saw the character “JI” (Hebei) on his license plate and did not allow them to rest in the service area.

It was 11:30 at midnight when they arrived in Liaoning. They tried to find a place to stay but were kicked out of several hotels. In the end, the father and son slept in the truck that night.

“Everywhere we went we were rejected. We couldn’t even get a meal, and we were not received at any of the restaurants,” said Mr. Qi.

“I am from Hengshui, not an infected area, but they resist the license of Hebei.”

The same tragedy had already happened in January 2020. Fifty-year-old Xiao Hongbing is a freight driver in Tianmen City, Hubei Province, who ran long-distance transport from his home in Hubei to other provinces on Jan. 7. When the goods were delivered and he was ready to return on Jan. 22, traffic control had been implemented at many expressway entrances across the country, and it was difficult to get off the expressway intersections, so only refueling and a short stop could be made in the service areas. Most of the time, Xiao Hongbing was forced to drive aimlessly on the highway. He could not stop his truck and had to drive as slowly as he could.

On the afternoon of Jan. 29, police in Hanzhong, Shaanxi province, found the truck and Xiao Hongbing asleep in the cab in the emergency lane. At that time, Xiao had not taken a bath or slept comfortably for more than 10 days. During the day, he often slapped himself in the face to stay awake while driving, and he nearly hit the guardrail on the roadside several times.