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SPC and SPP on
Crimes Obstructing COVID-19 Prevention and Control

2020/03/25

What kind of behavior amounts to crime of obstructing frontier health and quarantine? How to define offenders who obstruct a functionary of a state organ? These are among the questions about crimes obstructing epidemic prevention and control addressed by Jiang Qibo, head of the research office of the Supreme People's Court (SPC), and Gao Jingfeng, head of the research office of Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP), in a recent written interview.

Q: Five agencies have just issued guidelines for punishing the crime of obstructing frontier health and quarantine. How would you define this crime in the specific context of the COVID-19 epidemic?

A: The subject of the crime can be both an individual or a unit. Should any Chinese or foreign citizen or stateless person commit a crime that obstructs frontier health and quarantine work while entering or leaving China shall be subject to Chinese laws and judicial standards without exception and held criminally accountable.

The "Class A conditions" involved in the crime of obstructing the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases refer to Class A infectious diseases or other infectious diseases treated the same as Class A infectious diseases. The "quarantinable infectious diseases" involved in the crime of obstructing frontier health and quarantine include plague, cholera, yellow fever and other infectious diseases on the list compiled and released by the State Council.

If an international arrival obstructs China's COVID-19 prevention and control efforts, he/she may commit either the crime of obstructing the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases or the crime of obstructing frontier health and quarantine depending on when he/she makes the offence.

To be more specific, individuals who refuse to take quarantine measures required by the frontier health and quarantine authorities while entering China and thus cause the spread of COVID-19 or pose a grave danger of spreading the virus shall be charged with the crime of obstructing frontier health and quarantine.

Individuals who refuse to take quarantine measures required by the health and quarantine authorities after entering China and thus cause the spread of COVID-19 or pose a grave danger of spreading the virus shall be charged with the crime of obstructing the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.

Individuals who refuse to take quarantine measures required by the health and quarantine authorities both at the borders and after entering China commit both crimes and shall generally be convicted of a charge that carries a heavier punishment.

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