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China - Widespread COVID-19 fears: Many rural roads are closed without proper due process - November 23, 2022

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  • China - Widespread COVID-19 fears: Many rural roads are closed without proper due process - November 23, 2022

    Widespread COVID-19 fears..........

    Many rural roads are closed at will, experts: village committees have no right to decide on their own
    November 23, 2022 00:08 Beijing News Author: Xing Haiyang
      At present, the spread of the epidemic in some areas of my country is accelerating, and the difficulty of prevention and control is increasing. Recently, the situation of "blocking roads with mounds" has reappeared in many rural areas.

      Villagers from Pingdingshan, Henan, and Linyi, Shandong told the Beijing News that they had not received a notice of road closures, nor had they been notified of any cases in the village, so they were "closed". They told reporters that road closures have caused cyclists to fall and be injured, and cars to detour and run over large areas of crops. The reporter noticed that on social media, many netizens said that their villages and roads were closed. Those with addresses involved Liaoning, Hubei, Jiangxi, Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, etc.

      Experts and lawyers interviewed by reporters from The Beijing News said that it is illegal to close roads without the approval of the county-level or higher government and the higher-level government in accordance with the law, and it may constitute a crime if it causes casualties.

      Road closures must be reported and approved by governments above the county level

      Can the village committee decide on traffic restrictions such as road closures?

      my country's "Law on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases" stipulates that when an infectious disease breaks out or becomes prevalent, the local people's government at or above the county level should immediately organize forces to prevent and control it according to the prevention and control plan, and cut off the transmission route of the infectious disease. When necessary, emergency measures such as restricting gathering activities and closing places that may cause the spread of infectious diseases may be taken after reporting to the people's government at the next higher level.

      "It can be seen from the law that in an emergency situation of an epidemic outbreak, in order to cut off the transmission of infectious diseases, crowd gathering activities can be restricted, and traffic restrictions such as road closures are an effective way to restrict gathering activities. Although the law does not specify what can be done Road closures and other traffic restriction measures, but through explanation, it can be understood to a certain extent that traffic restriction measures are allowed.” Gao Yandong, a researcher at the Zhejiang Public Policy Research Institute, said.

      However, the approval process for adopting restrictive measures should be: the local people's government at or above the county level confirms that emergency measures need to be taken - report to the people's government at the next higher level - and the people's government at the next higher level makes an immediate decision and then implements it.

      Ai Jing, a postdoctoral fellow in law at Renmin University of China and a senior partner at Beijing Yingke Law Firm, also pointed out that the authority to take emergency measures such as closing relevant places is the government at the higher level of the county government. Villager self-government organizations such as village committees do not have this power.

      In addition, according to the "Law on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases", only when a village is identified as an epidemic area can it be closed. "It is an obvious illegal act to close roads and villages just to prevent others from entering the village and bringing the risk of infectious disease transmission. If there is such a situation, you can report it to the relevant department in time." Ai Jing said.

      Gao Yandong and Ai Jing both pointed out that after the implementation of restrictive measures such as road closures is approved through legal procedures, the residents in the jurisdiction should be notified in a timely manner, and corresponding living guarantees should be given to reduce the negative impact on the production and life of residents.

      Those who block roads without authorization to delay rescue and cause accidents shall bear legal responsibility

      Village road closures will inevitably have a negative impact on the production and life of villagers. Some villagers asked, what if someone is sick and the car cannot get out or get in?

      The reporter noticed that in February 2020, a fire truck in Lanzhou encountered two road closures during the rescue. The firefighters had no choice but to clear the mounds and roadblocks with shovels, and finally arrived at the scene of the accident after a delay of 20 minutes.

      Gao Yandong said that if the village committee blocks roads without authorization and delays ambulances or fire trucks carrying out emergency tasks, it will be required to bear administrative responsibility according to the "Public Security Management Punishment Law". The specific responsibilities shall be borne by the road closure implementers.

      Ai Jing believes that if the village committee's unauthorized road closures lead to delays in ambulance rescue or fire rescue rescue, and thus cause personal and property losses, the individuals and units that have suffered actual damage can report to the village committee or the person who made the decision to close the road or block the road. , Actual obstruction of personnel to file a civil compensation claim. Relevant personnel of village committees who have blocked roads without authorization and know that ambulances or fire trucks are performing emergency tasks still intentionally block them.

      Should the village committee be legally responsible for road closures and road interruptions that cause traffic accidents?

      Ai Jing told reporters that such cases did happen. According to the responsibility for traffic accidents determined by the traffic police department, the specific compensation obligation should be shared by the village committee, the person who made the decision to close the road and the person who actually made the roadblock.

      "The village committee can use the property of the village collective to make compensation, and after the compensation, it can seek compensation from those who are at fault," Gao Yandong said.

      In addition, Gao Yandong pointed out that the village committee's unauthorized road closure is subjective and intentional, and the result of casualties of passers-by is within the foreseeable range of the village committee, and the village committee has a laissez-faire attitude towards this result. , constitutes the crime of negligent death, and the specific implementers will bear criminal responsibility.

      At the same time, Ai Jing pointed out that if the method of setting up a barricade, intercepting, blocking, or breaking the road is used without approval, seriously hindering traffic, enough to cause the danger of vehicle overturning and destruction, it may also be suspected of the crime of destroying traffic facilities.

      Experts Say Legal Publicity and Government Supervision Should Be Strengthened

      Recently, the State Council's Joint Defense and Joint Control Mechanism released twenty measures to optimize the prevention and control work. Local party committees and governments must strictly implement the national unified prevention and control policies, strictly prohibit blocking traffic without approval, and strictly enforce laws and regulations that cause serious consequences. hold accountable.

      At the beginning of the outbreak of the epidemic in 2020, it was the most concentrated period of traffic restrictions such as road closures and circuit breakers. The reporter noticed that at that time, several departments had emphasized that it is strictly forbidden to block or disconnect roads at will.

      On January 28, 2020, when the Ministry of Public Security held a meeting to deal with the new crown pneumonia epidemic, it made it clear that illegal acts such as setting up cards to intercept without authorization, breaking roads and blocking traffic, etc., should be immediately reported to the party committee and the government, and dealt with in accordance with the law to maintain normal traffic order . Since then, the Traffic Management Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security has repeatedly emphasized that no unit or individual shall forcibly isolate or cut off rural roads on the grounds of epidemic prevention and control.

      The Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs have also repeatedly requested that hard isolation methods such as landfilling and digging should not be used simply to hinder rural road traffic; it is strictly forbidden to set up cards to block and block roads to ensure the smooth transportation of agricultural materials.

      The reporter combed and found that Shandong, Henan, Liaoning, Jiangxi and other places have issued measures many times since the outbreak of the epidemic, prohibiting random closure of villages and roads.

      On November 19, the "Notice on Carrying out Vegetable Promotion Work" issued by the General Office of the Henan Provincial People's Government once again made it clear that illegal road closures and unauthorized blocking of roads are strictly prohibited to ensure smooth access to vegetable bases, agricultural product wholesale markets and other places.

      It has been nearly three years since the outbreak of the epidemic. When governments and departments at all levels have repeatedly emphasized that rural roads should not be closed or broken at will, why do rural areas in many places still go their own way?

      Gao Yandong believes that there are three main reasons: first, the legal awareness is weak, and members of the village committee may not know that the village committee, as a self-governing mass organization, has no power to implement road closures, and they do not realize the illegality of road closures without authorization; second, township and county governments The supervision is not in place; the third is the imbalance of epidemic prevention resources. Epidemic prevention and control requires a lot of resources. Due to lack of manpower and material resources, most rural areas cannot accurately and effectively implement epidemic prevention policies, and then adopt simple and crude prevention and control methods.

      In this regard, Gao Yandong proposed that township and county-level people's governments should strengthen legal publicity, let village committee members and villagers realize the illegality and harmfulness of unauthorized road closures, and strengthen the prior approval and post-event supervision of higher-level governments. People's governments at or above the county level should formulate detailed guidelines for epidemic prevention and control in accordance with relevant central policies, and urge all townships and villages to implement them. Relevant personnel who make random road closure decisions shall be investigated for their corresponding legal responsibilities in accordance with the law.


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