A businessman at Tibet lambasted Chinese Communist Party authorities for blighting the region with its “zero-COVID” policies, describing Chinese quarantine facilities as “concentration camps”.
China’s ruling Communist Party (CCP) imposed strict COVID-19 confinement measures in Tibet since early August.
Xiao Wang (pseudonym) who did business in Lhasathe capital of Tibet, is a resident of Leshan City, Sichuan Province, southwest China.
He was forced into solitary confinement in a makeshift quarantine facility in Tibet for 25 days after his PCR test came back negative and then positive.
“I can’t help but cry after going through the lockdown. I have so much to say, but I find myself at a loss for words when I talk about it, and I’m scared too,” Wang said. to the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times on Nov. 9.
Zero-COVID measures “a mess”
Wang first traveled to Tibet with his wife in March to do business in the high-altitude region. They did not expect to be trapped in the government’s COVID-19 lockdowns in the region. Wang criticized the COVID management measures as “a mess”.
“The whole city of Lhasa is a mess,” Wang told The Epoch Times in the interview.
Wang had been required to take regular PCR tests since the municipal government rolled out its mass testing policy for residents.
But one day, from a single test, he received two conflicting results.
“Early in the morning, it was negative. But later it came out positive, but both results were from the same test sample,” Wang said.
Authorities then decided to isolate him in a quarantine facility, Wang said.
“Before leaving, I had to take an antigen test. And the test result was negative, but they still took me to the quarantine facility,” Wang said.
“The government said I was infected [with the virus that causes COVID], but I would say it’s just an arbitrary decision by the government. They decide who to quarantine at will.
During his 25 days of isolation from Sept. 16 to Oct. 10, Wang showed no symptoms of COVID-19 and his chest CT scan result was normal, according to Wang.
The journey to the quarantine center was difficult.
“It’s about 10 miles, but the transfer bus took about eight hours on the road,” Wang said.
The bus was filled with more than 50 people, young and old, crammed into the bus. “For more than eight hours, we were crammed into this bus. I felt hopeless and heartbroken,” Wang said.
On October 10, Wang was released from the isolation facility and sent home. This trip was just as trying, he said.
“I had to change five buses on the way back. A bus took me to one place, and I got off the bus, waited to register my information, then took another bus, got off at another place, and waited and registered at again, five times before finally arriving home,” Wang said.
Quarantine facilities are “concentration camps”
Wang said he was first taken to a makeshift isolation center set up on the campus of the Tibetan Medical University.
“University buildings and dormitories were full of isolated people, and hundreds of people slept together,” Wang said. “Can these places be called makeshift isolation facilities? These are concentration camps! he said, citing the poor and unsuitable conditions.
He was then moved to another makeshift isolation center which he said was just as bad as the first one.
“Hundreds of thousands of people are isolated in these ‘isolation sites’, which makes no sense,” Wang said.
He said they received little medical attention during their stay.
“People with a body temperature above 104℉ did not receive any medical treatment. A young girl, who was a student, died of a high fever in a quarantine facility,” Wang said.
He told The Epoch Times that in the makeshift quarantine facilities they were given a bed, but that was it. They had to take PCR tests every morning. If someone had symptoms, they were told to drink tap water.
“The medicine we receive is Lianhuaqingwen [capsules or granules]but we don’t want to take it,” Wang said.
Lianhuaqingwen is a traditional Chinese medicine that the CCP says is effective in treating COVID-19. The product is Disapproved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Wang is now back in his hometown in Sichuan Province. He is currently quarantined in a makeshift isolation center in Leshan, after which he is to be quarantined at home for another four days. He said he was only able to leave Lhasa after protests broke out in the city against strict zero-COVID lockdowns.
VOA reported the October 28 protest, describing it as “rare” because Lhasa is a “heavily guarded city.”
The CCP announced the epidemic in Tibet on August 8 and locked down parts of Lhasa and two other Tibetan cities on August 9, ordering mass testing for all residents of the three cities. Local authorities announced a gradual easing of restrictions on November 11, which they say does not mean a “lifting of restrictions”, according to a notice posted on the official website of the Lhasa municipal government.
The notice also says people who do not comply with the requirement to wear face masks or those who do not pass PCR tests are breaking the law.
According to Tibet’s health committee, Lhasa officially reported two asymptomatic cases as of Nov. 12. The main regional health body said there are two high-risk areas in the region, but it strangely did not name the towns affected.
Residents of high-risk areas have been banned from leaving their homes.
Xia Song, Gu Xiaohua and Hong Ning contributed to this report.