- A 14-year-old girl died in quarantine in China after she was neglected by staff, her family told the BBC.
- She developed a fever at a quarantine center and died several days later, per the BBC.
- Social-media users, frustrated by China’s zero-COVID policy, are calling for an investigation.
A man says his 14-year-old daughter died after being denied care at a COVID quarantine center in China, and it’s sparked outrage on the country’s tightly censored social-media platforms.
Guo Jingjing and her family were taken to a quarantine center in Ruzhou, Henan, on October 14, the BBC reported.
The BBC identified Guo’s father as a man named Guo Lele. Guo Lele said his daughter developed a fever on October 16, two days after she was put in a quarantine center, and that his daughter was incoherent by her third day at the facility.
According to the father’s account, she was finally taken from quarantine to a hospital on October 17 when she was already in critical condition. She died on October 18, the BBC reported.
Insider was not able to independently verify the girl’s death, or if she had COVID-19 at the time. Her family’s social media accounts were not accessible at press time. It’s also unclear if Guo tested positive for COVID.
The incident comes just as China enters its third year of strict COVID-zero measures and quarantine procedures. China’s policies mandate that anyone who’s come in close contact with a COVID patient also has to isolate, often at designated facilities.
According to local blogger Li Xiaoan, the girl died of pulmonary edema, a condition where too much fluid fills the lungs, and encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. Li reposted an account of the ordeal from the girl’s father on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. In this account, Guo Lele alleged that no doctors were stationed at the quarantine center they were taken to, a facility converted from the premises of the Ruzhou Wanji Senior High School.
Outrage on Chinese social media was quickly censored
Videos went viral on Douyin, China’s version of Tiktok, that showed a young girl trembling in bed while an older woman squatted beside her. It’s unclear if the girl in the video is Guo Jingjing, but it prompted people online to call for an investigation into the circumstances around the girl’s passing.
Li, the blogger, shared a video on Weibo of a man screaming at quarantine staff on October 19. Insider could not verify that the man in the video was Guo Lele.
—Manya Koetse (@manyapan) October 21, 2022
A separate video also went viral on Douyin this week showing a man thought to be Guo Lele accusing healthcare workers in China of neglecting his daughter and calling for an investigation, per the BBC.
“I’m requesting the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and Discipline Inspection Commission come down to investigate the Ruzhou government’s neglect,” he added in the video, per the BBC.
Many videos of Guo Lele have been taken down on Weibo, which is heavily moderated and often censors dissent. Hashtags related to the girl’s death, such as #RuzhouGirl, have been disabled on the platform. However, several posts and videos remain on Weibo and Douyin calling for an investigation.
“Have the lessons of Shanghai been forgotten so cleanly? What is even more hateful is that it is so tightly censored,” said one popular Weibo post, referring to Shanghai’s strict COVID lockdowns in April.
“If any violations were committed, I hope there will be severe punishments!” wrote another poster.
Ruzhou’s authorities have not issued a statement or comment on Guo Jingjing’s death. Insider’s calls to Ruzhou city authorities were not returned.
Anger at China’s COVID-zero policies regularly surfaces on social media. However, posts are often quickly censored.
In September, 27 people died while being sent to quarantine when their bus overturned on a mountain road in Guizhou province. Social media users said the deaths could have been avoided had no quarantine order been given in the first place.