China Foreign Affairs University Posts, And Then Deletes, Draconian Coronavirus Restrictions

A list of ten “forbidden” behaviors posted to (and then deleted from) the public WeChat account of China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU) in Beijing seemed to reveal discontent with strict pandemic controls among the country’s future diplomats. The list detailed the rigid restrictions imposed on students and the attempt to stop them from engaging in “inappropriate speech that distorts or negates government pandemic control policy.”

Students across China have rebelled against similar controls. At Shanghai’s prestigious Tongji University, students engaged in a protest art movement in opposition to a campus lockdown, with some students adopting a meme critical of foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s assertion that they should be happy to be living in China during the pandemic. At Peking University, students demanded administrators “tear down the wall” that was preventing them from leaving campus (while allowing teachers and staff to come and go as they pleased).

Life for Chinese diplomats is often quite restrictive, even in non-pandemic times. In Peter Martin’s book on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he noted that the common practice of “doubling,” whereby diplomats are supervised by at least one colleague on all their sojourns, saw one diplomat accompanied by four minders on his first date. The pandemic restrictions at CFAU are quite possibly more onerous: students need permission for any movement, even between villages, and are banned from purchasing overseas goods due to the government’s persistent (and unproven) assertion that COVID can be traced to packages arriving from overseas.

CDT has translated China Foreign Affairs University’s “Ten Forbiddens” in full: 

  1. It is forbidden to ignore or fail to abide by pandemic prevention work requirements as implemented by higher-ups or school administrators; to ignore orders or breach quarantine; to respond to pandemic prevention measures in a perfunctory, deceptive, or disobedient manner; or to treat pandemic prevention measures as a mere formality.

  2. It is forbidden to conceal, lie, delay, omit, fabricate, or falsify information when reporting your or your co-residents’ travel history, recent contacts, health status, or other pandemic control-related information. It is forbidden to refuse pandemic-related measures including contact tracing, monitoring, quarantine, or observation.

  3. In the absence of prior authorization, it is forbidden to post, republish, or share nonpublic pandemic control information on Wechat (WeChat groups or WeChat moments), Weibo, QQ, Douyin, Kuaishou, BiliBili, or on other websites, social media platforms, or social media groups. It is likewise forbidden to fabricate, propagate, or disseminate, in any form, false or unconfirmed pandemic-related information, or to engage in inappropriate speech that distorts or negates government pandemic control policy.

  4. It is forbidden to violate pandemic prevention requirements by organizing or attending group dinners, parties, or similar gatherings. It is forbidden to organize or attend unauthorized large-scale gatherings. Minimize the use of public transportation and participation in off-campus activities. Do not enter bars, internet cafés, karaoke parlors, “scripted murder” gaming rooms, card rooms, public swimming pools, saunas, steam rooms, hot springs, or other crowded places.

  5. It is forbidden to leave at-home isolation or quarantine without prior permission or before the period of observation or quarantine has elapsed.

  6. It is forbidden to leave or enter the school campus, leave or return to Beijing, leave the country, or cross border zones (this includes provincial, city, county, town, and village borders) without prior authorization. Travel to medium- or high-risk areas is forbidden.

  7. It is forbidden to borrow or appropriate other people’s student IDs, health codes, or travel itineraries, or to refuse to submit to inspections of this documentation.

  8. It is forbidden to buy overseas goods. Continue to avoid purchasing items from overseas or receiving international packages, and minimize the use of any delivery services.

  9. It is forbidden to give personal interviews (including phone interviews) to domestic or foreign news outlets without prior authorization. It is forbidden to privately share information or tips with the media, or to submit manuscripts, give interviews, or spread irresponsible remarks to the media.

  10. It is forbidden to obstruct local cadres, medical workers, volunteers, or other pandemic-prevention personnel from carrying out their duties. Any other behavior that impedes pandemic-prevention work or violates pandemic-prevention regulations is forbidden. [Chinese]

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