Any Chinese or foreign citizen or stateless person who impairs frontier quarantine measures while entering or leaving China shall be equally held accountable in accordance with Chinese laws, officials with the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate said on March 24.
Chinese authorities have listed six kinds of behaviors that could constitute the crime of impairing frontier quarantine measures in a guideline, targeting individuals who spread or risk spreading a quarantinable infectious disease identified by the Chinese State Council, including plague, cholera, yellow fever and COVID-19.
People infected with quarantinable infectious diseases or suspected epidemic victims who refuse to receive isolated observation or fail to truthfully fill out their health declaration forms at border checkpoints, such as international airports, in China, could face criminal penalties, according to the guideline made public on March 16.
According to China's Criminal Law, whoever violates the provisions on frontier health and quarantine inspection and causes the spread or a grave danger of the spread of a quarantinable infectious disease shall face penalties ranging from a fine to imprisonment of no more than three years.
The officials explained the standards in identifying the elements that constitute the crime of impairing frontier quarantine and specified that those violations below the criminal law standards may still face administrative punishments.
Guidelines on handling epidemic-related crimes, including obstructing public service, producing and selling fake or inferior products and engaging in price gouging were also offered.
In handling criminal cases during the epidemic, procuratorates at all levels were asked to conduct interrogations by telephone or video, so as to reduce the risk.
Courts were asked to take necessary protective measures in cases where holding a hearing during the epidemic was absolutely necessary.
If the conditions are met and the situation is suitable, the court session may be held by video, according to the SPC official.
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