Authored by Nicole Hao via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
The Chinese regime dismissed an official who posted on social media the real situation in Xi’an under its strict COVID-19 rules.
The facts that the official posted include a 31-year-old man who walked eight days and nights to his hometown because of a lack of income, no public transportation, and fear of quarantine in Xi’an.
Two other Xi’an migrant workers had the same purpose, with one riding a bike for 10 hours in the icy night, and another swimming across a frozen river.
However, the official’s post was designated as a rumor, removed from the internet, and censored by the regime.
“An ordinary official knows the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) rules very well. They don’t dare to say the things which might anger the regime, not to mention the dismissed official is a senior official,” U.S.-based China affair commentator Tang Jingyuan told The Epoch Times on Jan. 8. “Even a self-censored official is dismissed because of an online post, you can imagine how tightly the Chinese regime controls people’s speech.”
“After studying, we decided to dismiss Song Wentao from the position of deputy director of the Organization Department of the Grass-roots Construction Division,” the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese (ACFROC) announced on Jan. 6.
The ACFROC is a key organ of the Chinese regime’s United Front Work Department, whose role is influencing elite individuals and organizations inside and outside China to support the regime. Song, as a senior official from ACFROC, used to visit different Chinese cities to check their performance in reintegrating Chinese people who returned from overseas.
Shaanxi Provincial Network Reporting Center’s notification on Jan. 4 explained the reason for Song’s dismissal.
“The account Qingfengmingyue Lou posted an article headlined ‘Xi’an people’s sorrows: why some of them fled Xi’an even risked their lives and broke the law’ on WeChat on Jan. 2,” The center announced. “The account is held by Song Wentao.”
The center claimed that Song’s post collected people’s complaints online, “ignoring all the residents’ efforts against the epidemic.”
Although the center said what Song posted isn’t true, Xi’an residents and announcements by local police confirmed the cases that Song detailed in his post.
Song detailed the situations of Xi’an residents’ lives under the strict lockdown in his post, such as people not having a solution to buy food and other necessaries, and not being able to visit hospitals.
“Xi’an residents are worried about death from sickness and hunger, rather than COVID-19,” Song concluded in his post.
In the post, Song listed three men who fled the city when the regime announced the lockdown, but were detained by police before they could arrive at home in other cities in Shaanxi Province. Xi’an is the capital of northwestern China’s Shaanxi. Due to the lockdown, the regime stopped all public transportation in Xi’an, and people couldn’t get out by train, bus, car, or airplane.
“Without supplements and GPS, [the 31-year-old man] walked eight days and nights, climbed over the vast mountains, waded through the icy rivers, entered Yangtze River Basin from Yellow River Basin, and crossed the Qinling—the line separated north and south in China,” Song wrote.
The man Song mentioned is from a rural area in Ankang city in southern Shaanxi, where people eat the food they plant. In Xi’an, the man rented a room in a village close to Xianyang Airport and made a living by selling clothes at a street vendor stand.
After the city was locked down, the man couldn’t make any money but needed to buy food and pay rent. He decided to go home although there’s no public transportation and checkpoints to prevent people from traveling at every village and township.
The man left his rented room on Dec. 16 and was detained by police in Ningshan County on Dec. 24, about 75 miles away from the airport. During the eight days, he only took naps in the early afternoons when there’s sunshine. All other times, he kept on walking because it was too cold to sleep.
Song cried for the medical workers who performed the tests on streets in Xi’an. “After a snow, the wind was big and cold. The medical workers on the streets had to spray disinfection between tests. Almost all their hands were blue because of the cold.”