Father blames Chinas COVID policies for sons death that sparked

Father blames China’s COVID policies for son’s death that sparked online fury

BEIJING, Nov. 2 (Portal) – The father of a 3-year-old boy who died of carbon monoxide poisoning in northwest China on Tuesday said strict COVID-19 guidelines had ‘indirectly killed’ his son by causing delays in one case Treatment caused outrage on social media.

The boy’s death is the latest incident to spark a backlash against China’s strict zero-COVID policy, with a critical hashtag topping 380 million reads on the Twitter-like Weibo platform on Wednesday.

“Personally, I think he was killed indirectly,” the boy’s father, Tuo Shilei, told Portal by phone from Lanzhou, the provincial capital of Gansu, which has been under lockdown for several months.

Around noon on Tuesday, after his wife slipped and fell after being hit by gas fumes while cooking, Tuo noticed that his son Wenxuan was also unwell. Tuo said he desperately tried to call an ambulance or the police but couldn’t get through.

After about 30 minutes, Wenxuan’s condition worsened, and Tuo said he performed CPR, which helped temporarily. He rushed with his son to the entrance of their community compound, which was under strict lockdown, but gate staff wouldn’t let him past and told him to call neighborhood authorities or an ambulance.

Desperate and unwilling to wait any longer for an ambulance, Tuo tumbled through the barriers with his son, and some “kind-hearted” locals called a taxi to take them to a hospital, where doctors’ efforts to save Wenxuan were unsuccessful .

‚ÄúThere was the COVID situation at the checkpoint. The staff didn’t act and then ignored and avoided the problem, and then we were blocked by another checkpoint,” said Tuo, who is 32 and owns a small meat shop.

“No help was provided. This series of events caused the death of my child.”

The Lanzhou government and health ministry, as well as the Gansu provincial government, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Portal could not immediately reach the hospital where the boy died.

During the ruling Communist Party Congress last month, President Xi Jinping reiterated China’s commitment to the zero-COVID policy, which has made it a global outlier and led to disruptive and draconian lockdowns in cities across the country.

“THREE YEARS OF COVID WAS HIS WHOLE LIFE”

The Lanzhou incident began trending on social media after a video was shared on Tuesday of Wenxuan receiving CPR in the back of a three-wheel truck, along with a comment suggesting he was due to delays in died after treatment.

A hashtag, “Three years of COVID was his whole life,” became a trending topic before being deleted, a common occurrence on China’s heavily censored internet.

“Unfortunately, the child’s memory will be of masks and nothing else,” wrote Weibo user Banmiaoxiaozhou.

“Is there still trust in the authorities?” wrote another user named attorney Zhong Guohua.

Numerous cases of people dying because they were unable to receive medical care due to COVID restrictions have sparked viral outrage this year, including during Shanghai’s two-month lockdown.

In January, a senior Chinese official warned hospitals against turning away patients after a woman’s miscarriage sparked anger during a lockdown in Xian.

Tuo said he was later contacted by a person who said they were a retired local official and offered to arrange 100,000 yuan (US$13,743) to be paid to Tuo if he signed a pledge, not to the go public or seek redress for the incident.

Tuo said he declined the offer and instead demanded an explanation for his son’s death.

A funeral was held for Wenxuan on Wednesday morning in Hezheng, the family’s nearby hometown. Tuo did not attend for fear of being quarantined upon arrival.

($1 = 7.2766 Chinese Renminbi Yuan)

Reporting by Martin Quin Pollard; Additional coverage from Beijing Newsroom; Edited by Tony Munroe and Alex Richardson

Our standards: The Thomson Portal Trust Principles.