China Purges Dozens of Communist Leaders over Coronavirus

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, leads other Chinese leaders attending the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Beijing, China on Oct. …
Wang Ye/Xinhua via AP

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) “punished” at least 37 local party officials across four separate provinces in recent days for allegedly mismanaging epidemic responses to Chinese coronavirus outbreaks, the state-run Global Times reported Sunday.

Beijing claimed to have penalized at least 15 local Party officials in Nanjing, the capital of eastern China’s Jiangsu province, on August 7 for their “slack response” to and “ineffective management” of the city’s lastest Chinese coronavirus outbreak. The Global Times, an official Communist Party newspaper, did not reveal how the party “punished” the officials, but did note that they included “Hu Wanjin, a vice mayor of Nanjing, Fang Zhongyou, Party chief of the Nanjing Health Commission and Wang Chao, commander of the anti-epidemic control work at Nanjing Lukou International Airport.”

“The ineffective epidemic prevention and control at the airport was found to have triggered the outbreak,” according to the newspaper.

Jiangsu health officials detected a Chinese coronavirus cluster infection at Nanjing Lukou International Airport on July 20. That single outbreak is believed to have spread from the airport across China to several provinces and cities, sparking the country’s latest nationwide epidemic of the disease.

The Chinese government further claimed to have penalized “20 officials and public post holders” in the city of Zhangjiajie, located in southeastern Hunan province, for their “slack response” in dealing with the city’s most recent coronavirus “flare-up.” The Communist Party blamed a July 22 theater performance in Zhangjiajie attended by thousands of tourists for spreading the city’s latest coronavirus cluster infection nationwide. The party recently penalized staff within Zhangjiajie’s tourism sector, including personnel connected to the July 22 concert, for organizing the alleged super-spreader event. Local district officials and hospital management staff were likewise punished for failing to contain Zhangjiajie’s coronavirus outbreak. Official reports of the “punishments” did not specify what they consisted of.

The Communist Party fired two local officials in Zhengzhou, the capital of east-central China’s Henan province, for their allegedly poor epidemic responses in recent days.

“Fu Guirong, secretary of Zhengzhou Health Commission Party group, was removed from her post. The Party chief of Zhengzhou Sixth People’s Hospital, a designated hospital for treatment of overseas arrivals who are infected with COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus], was also removed from her post,” the Global Times revealed on August 8.

The regime further announced “disciplinary actions against officials and personnel who performed ineffectively in their management and supervisory responsibilities for epidemic prevention and control” in the city of Yantai, located in northeastern China’s Shandong province, again without specifying the actions.

Both Henan and Shandong border China’s northern Hebei province to the south. Hebei surrounds the Chinese national capital of Beijing, which has not been spared from the country’s latest coronavirus epidemic. Communist Party officials in Beijing have banned most travel into and out of the city, canceled all large-scale events for at least the month of August, and locked down entire districts of the metropolis in an effort to contain the national capital’s latest coronavirus outbreak.

Beijing is home to China’s top government officials, including Chinese leader and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping. Xi has not directly commented on China’s latest coronavirus epidemic so far, nor has he visited any of the affected cities. His most recent statements regarding the coronavirus concern Beijing’s August 5 pledge to provide two billion doses of Chinese-made coronavirus vaccine candidates to foreign countries by the end of 2021. It remains unknown if Xi has personally received a vaccination against the Chinese coronavirus, as the CCP has not commented on the matter.

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