The Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security, and Ministry of Justice promulgated on February 6, 2020 a Circular on Penalizing Violations and Criminal Activity in Impeding the Prevention and Control of the Novel Coronavirus Epidemic (hereinafter, the “Circular”), which enumerates the applicable law and example of the kinds of criminal activities in relation to disease prevention and control that are to be punished. This article seeks to briefly introduce the Circular as follows:
1. For those who have been confirmed or are suspected to be patents or carriers infected with the novel coronavirus, and those who refuse to accept quarantine or escape quarantine before the quarantine period is up, entering public spaces or use public transportation and thereby causing the novel coronavirus to spread shall be convicted and penalized for the crime of endangering public safety.
2. Those who impede, by way of violence or coercion, measures, such as testing, quarantine and monitoring, that are taken to prevent and control the epidemic by government personnel (including those of organizations that exercise administrative authority over disease prevention and control, or of organizations that were authorized by the state agencies to exercise such administrative authority, as well as personnel who are not from the state agencies but are nevertheless engaging in disease prevention and control work), shall be convicted and penalized for obstructing the exercise of public duties.
3. Those who deliberately harm medical personnel during the disease prevention and control period to the extent of causing more than minor injuries, or those that engage in acts such as tearing up protective equipment or spitting on medical personnel and caused the medical personnel to be infected with the novel coronavirus, will be convicted and penalized for international injury.
4. Those who produce or sell counterfeit and inferior disease prevention and control products, medicine or supplies used for the prevention and control of novel coronavirus infections during the epidemic period will be convicted and penalized for producing and selling counterfeit and inferior products, producing and selling counterfeit medicine, or producing or selling inferior medicine.
5. Those who produce medical devices such as face masks, goggles and protective clothing that do not meet the national or industry standards for human health, and those knowingly selling medical devices that do not meet relevant standards during the epidemic prevention and control period, to the extent of causing serious harm to health will be convicted and penalized for producing or selling substandard medical devices.
6. For those who violate state requirements for market operation and price administration by hoarding and jacking up the prices of face masks, googles, protective clothing, disinfectant, medicine or other protective supplies that are urgently needed for epidemic prevention and control, or other daily necessities, to generate exorbitant profits, if the amount of illegal proceeds is relatively high or if there is any material disruption of market order, they will be convicted and penalized for illegal business operations.
The Circular also emphasizes that violations and crimes committed during the epidemic prevention and control period should be regarded as serious cases, and ensure that strict policy requirements are realized to effectively punish and deter such acts, maintain the authority of the law, and safeguard the lives and physical health of the people and the public.