Hubei Riots – Can it happen here?

By Faye Higbee

China – Restrictions were lifted on travel to and from Hubei Province. But when some residents of Hubei province tried to go back to their jobs in Jiangxi Province, the Jiangxi police stopped them and encroached on Hubei Police, which sparked a conflict. The crowd became violent and began turning over police cars and beating Jiangxi police with their own shields. But could our own crackdowns end up like the Hubei riots as well?

China -the Hubei riots

The riots broke out at around  8 a.m. local time, and were still going strong at 4 p.m. according to

The Daily Mail reported,

Angry crowds rioted near the Chinese city of Wuhan after the region’s two-month coronavirus lockdown was lifted but residents were told they could not travel elsewhere in China.

Shocking footage showed a mob overturning a police van on a bridge linking Wuhan, which is the capital of Hubei Province, and neighbouring Jiangxi.  

The violent scenes came despite a move by the authorities on Saturday to allow people into Wuhan from elsewhere in the country for the first time since coronavirus emerged in the city in late December last year. 

Hundreds of people were pictured arriving at the city’s railway station on Saturday but people cannot leave until April 8 and the vast majority of shops are still shut.

In a nutshell, this is what happened: The lockdown was lifted in Hubei Province. People wanted to go back to their jobs in Jiangxi province, but the Jiangxi police refused them entrance, and invaded the space of Hubei police, causing fights. The people from Hubei became angry and…riots ensued. Hubei police in some cases just stood by and watched, or actively helped the people from their province. Some Jiangxi police even attempted to arrest Hubei police.

“All the other provinces are discriminating against people from Hubei right now; stopping them from coming in. Everyone has been cheering Wuhan and Hubei during the epidemic, but they are very discriminatory towards them when they try to travel to where they are, and demand that they be isolated.” Local Hubei resident

The trouble with crackdowns and quarantines

America is not China. But the longer we are locked down, the more tense things will become. And the roadblocks with police that are currently stopping out of state cars could absolutely devolve into conflict.

Rhode Island is actively using police to look for New Yorkers attempting to enter the state, according to wpri.

“Troopers set up a checkpoint on I-95 in Hope Valley where drivers with New York license plates must stop and provide their contact information if they plan on staying in Rhode Island long-term.

Those who do plan to stay in Rhode Island for an extended period of time are ordered to self-quarantine for 14 days before going out in public. Anyone passing through will be allowed to continue on their travels without providing information.

Florida, has also initiated checkpoints to stop travellers from hotspots from coming in. North Carolina, and even Texas are also cracking down on travellers from COVID-19 hotspots. They are ordered to “self-isolate” for 14 days upon arrival. We totally understand why, because protecting the residents of each area is paramount.  But we need to pay attention to how this progresses.

Remember the words of the Hubei resident after the virus lockdown was lifted:

“All the other provinces are discriminating against people from Hubei right now; stopping them from coming in.”


Featured photo: Twitter via Radio Free Asia


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