Armed riot police in southern China have paraded four alleged violators of Covid rules through the streets, leading to criticism of the government’s heavy-handed approach.
Four masked suspects in hazmat suits – carrying placards displaying their photos and names – were paraded Tuesday in front of a large crowd in Guangxi region’s Jingxi city.
Photos of the event showed each suspect held by two police officers – wearing face shields, masks and hazmat suits – and surrounded by a circle of police in riot gear, some holding guns.
The public shaming was part of disciplinary measures announced by the local government in August to punish those breaking health rules.
China banned such public shaming of criminal suspects in 2010 after decades of campaigning by human rights activists, but the practice has resurfaced as local governments struggle to enforce the national zero-Covid policy.
It comes as locked-down residents in one of China’s biggest cities say they are at risk of starving in their homes after they were banned from going outside even to buy food under harsh new Covid measures sparked by just a few dozen cases.
Apparatchiks running the city of Xi’an on Monday told 13 million people they are only allowed out of their homes when invited to take part in a new round of mass testing, or for medical emergencies.