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Newsline: China rejects criticism that its zero-Covid policies violate the rights of US diplomats

China has denied that its zero-Covid policies violate the rights of US diplomats, and reiterated that foreign envoys must comply with Chinese rules. In response to a column in The Washington Post that strongly criticised Chinese pandemic controls being applied to diplomats, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday that the measures were to protect the health of Chinese citizens and foreign residents alike. These measures had helped to ensure that China maintained one of the lowest rates of infection and death in the world, Zhao said. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/china-rejects-criticism-zero-covid-093000779.html) In the opinion piece, which was posted on the Post’s site on Thursday, columnist Josh Rogin contended that the harsh policies, including rolling lockdowns and forced quarantines, had “trampled on the rights of US diplomats to an extent previously unknown” and forced them to “live in constant fear”. Rogin noted that US diplomats and their family members are supposed to be immune from being arbitrarily detained by the nations where they work, and said that the State Department had concluded that Covid-related detention in quarantine centres violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Rogin said that 16 American diplomatic personnel or their family members have been sent against their will to Chinese government medical quarantine centres “which can resemble prisons”, and that some US diplomats were so afraid that they petitioned the State Department to leave China.

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