Say what you will about the shortcomings of the American justice system, but at least the US doesn’t do this.
According to foreign press reports, four Chinese nationals who were busted for allegedly violating the country’s COVID rules by smuggling Vietnamese migrants across the border were publicly shamed somewhere in the city of Jingxi, withiin China’s Guangxi border region.
China’s state-controlled press said the shaming occurred on Tuesday. Footage of the incident quickly went viral, heaping even more shame and embarrassment on these poor people.
Accompanied by authorities in Hazmat suits, the suspects could be were seen holding placards displaying their photos and names. Each of the four accused were held by two police officers. A large crowd looked on and jeered.
— 默默 (@zixinho17) December 28, 2021
Obrazki jak z czasów Rewolucji Kulturalnej. A to Jingxi w prow. Kuangsi i 4 osoby oskarżone o przemycanie ludzi przez granicę prowadzone na plac przed zgromadzonych na nim mieszkańców. Urzędnicy nie wiedzą w tych „dyscyplinarnych działaniach ostrzegawczych” niczego niestosowanego pic.twitter.com/MQCuzeJ3az
— Krzysztof Pawliszak (@luigiluib) December 29, 2021
The incident apparently ignited a debate within the CCP’s news apparatus, with one party-controlled journal opining that public shaming was a bridge too far. That argument was made by Chinese Communist Party-affiliated Beijing News.
“The measure seriously violates the spirit of the rule of law and cannot be allowed to happen again,” the Beijing News report read.
Technically speaking, public shaming of those accused of crimes has been outlawed in China since 2010. However, this isn’t the first time public shaming has popped up in the Chinese press. Similar scenes were filmed in November and in August, when armed police escorted a suspect through the street to a children’s playground.
Whether the backlash makes any difference, of course, will ultimately be decided by President Xi.