In this Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, photo, a medical worker in a protective suit walks by patients who diagnosed with the coronaviruses settle at a temporary hospital which transformed from an exhibition center in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province. (Chinatopix via AP)
UPDATED 11:48 AM PT — Sunday, February 9, 2020
The Chinese government has come under fire for allegedly using excessive force to quarantine areas affected by the coronavirus outbreak. New videos showed Chinese officials breaking into homes and taking people into isolation by force.
The disturbing footage has sparked concerns that China could be using the epidemic as a pretext to detain dissidents and critics of the regime. Beijing reported 11 million people have been quarantined in and around the city of Wuhan so far.
The UN warned against potential human rights violations amid the virus outbreak.
“All of a sudden, people that have nothing to do with it are stigmatized for any reasons,” stated UN Secretary General António Guterres. “So, I think it’s important to keep the very strong human rights perspective in the way the international community deals with the coronavirus.”
Chinese officials have said they are asking residents in certain areas to self-quarantine for 14 days. They claimed they are only detaining the violators.
Passengers from the cruise ship “World Dream” docked at Kai Tak cruise terminal, wave to family members on shore in Hong Kong, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Meanwhile, the Chinese ambassador to the U.S. denied claims that Beijing is refusing to cooperate with the U.S. on battling the coronavirus. On Sunday, Ambassador Cui Tiankai said China would welcome CDC experts’ help in researching the virus.
Tiankai argued it is still not clear what the virus is and how it affects people. His remarks came amid allegations of a potential government cover-up of the true scale of the coronavirus pandemic.
The ambassador added China is working with the international community to prevent the spread of coronavirus and curb the outbreak.
“We are coordinating with the World Health Organization, because a lot of things are done under the auspices of the World Health Organization,” said Tiankai. “We certainly welcome American experts to join the actual group, the assembly.”
He also rejected criticism of alleged human rights abuses in the province of Xinjiang and reiterated Beijing’s claims of battling Islamic terror there.
Elderly men sit at a park wearing face masks in Hong Kong, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)