China clarifies legal application of criminal cases obstructing epidemic control

(Xinhua) Updated : 2020-03-02

BEIJING -- Officials with the Supreme People's Court (SPC) and the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) have further clarified the legal application of criminal cases of obstructing the novel coronavirus prevention and control amid the country's virus battle.

Regarding the circumstances under which the crime of endangering public security by dangerous means shall be applied to a criminal case of obstructing epidemic prevention and control, Jiang Qibo and Gao Jingfeng, senior officials with research offices under the SPC and the SPP each, said there are three aspects that need to be considered:

First, the subject is a confirmed novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case and pathogen carrier, or a suspected COVID-19 case;

Second, the subject has the intention to spread COVID-19 pathogens;

Third, the subject has refused to be treated with isolation or has broken away from isolation without authorization before the isolation period expires, and has carried out the act of entering public places or public transportation means. If the subject is a suspected COVID-19 case, the crime of endangering public security by dangerous means shall be applied when the subject's act has caused the consequence of novel coronavirus transmission.

According to the officials, the application of the crime of endangering public security by dangerous methods should be administered strictly in accordance with the law.

In addition, the crime of endangering public safety by dangerous means shall also be applied to a subject who, knowing that he or she has been diagnosed as a COVID-19 case or suspected case, has maliciously spread the virus to a number of people indiscriminately, with serious consequences.

The officials' clarification comes as the SPC, the SPP, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice have jointly issued a guideline on punishing crimes of obstructing the COVID-19 prevention and control in accordance with the law recently.