Opinions on Strictly Punishing Violations and Crimes that Obstruct the Prevention and Control of the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Epidemic in Accordance with Law

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Title: Opinions on Strictly Punishing Violations and Crimes that Obstruct the Prevention and Control of the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Epidemic in Accordance with Law
【Doc Number】法发〔2020〕7号
【Date of Issue】2020/2/6

These Opinions are drafted on the basis of relevant laws and judicial interpretations so as to lawfully punish violations and crimes that obstruct the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic, to safeguard the peoples security in their lives and physical health, to ensure social stability and order, and to ensure the smooth development of efforts to prevent and control the epidemic.

I. Raising Political Stances and Fully Recognizing the Major Significance of Maintaining Social Stability During the Period of Epidemic Prevention and Control

All levels of people's court, people's procuratorate, public security organ, and judicial administrative organs should truly unify their thoughts and actions with the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping's series of important directions on efforts to prevent and control the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic, resolutely implementing the Party Central Committee's major decisions and deployments, the work arrangements of the central leading group on efforts to respond to the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic, and follow the requirements of the Party Central Committee's Political-legal Affairs Committee to strengthen the 'four awarenesses' and 'four self-confidences' to achieve the 'two preservations', placing the public's safety in their lives and physical health above all else throughout, resolutely making epidemic prevention and control the overriding priority, sufficiently using the laws and regulations to lawfully, promptly, and strictly punish all violations and crimes obstructing epidemic prevention and control, to resolutely provide legal safeguards to win the battle for epidemic prevention and control.

II. Correctly Apply the Law to Strictly Punish All Violations and Crimes Obstructing Epidemic Prevention and Control in Accordance with Law.

(1) Strictly punish crimes of resisting epidemic prevention and control measures in accordance with law. In any of the following circumstances, intentionally spreading novel coronavirus pneumonia pathogens and endangering public safety is to be convicted and punished as the crime of endangering public safety through dangerous means in accordance with Criminal Law article 114 and the first paragraph of article 115.

1. Those who after being confirmed as a patient or carrier of the novel coronavirus pneumonia, refuse isolated treatment, or leave isolated treatment of their own accord before the period of isolation is complete, and enter public places or public transportation;

2. Suspected novel coronavirus pneumonia patients refuse isolated treatment, or leave isolated treatment of their own accord before the period of isolation is complete, and enter public places or public transportation, causing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Other refusals to implement prevention and control measures put forward by health and disease prevention bodies in accordance with the Law on Prevention of the Spread of Contagious Diseases that cause the novel coronavirus to spread or pose a serious threat of spreading the novel coronavirus, are to be convicted and punished as the crime of obstructing the prevention of contagious diseases in accordance with Criminal Law article 330.

The use of violence or threats to obstruct the staff of state organs (including personnel engaged in public affairs at organizations exercising state authority for the administrative management of disease prevention and control in accordance with laws and regulations, personnel engaged at organizations engaged in public affairs that have been entrusted by state organs to exercise state authority in disease prevention and control, and personnel that although they are not part of the staffing arrangements for state organs are still involved in public affairs of disease prevention and control at state organs) who are lawfully performing measures employed for the prevention and control of the epidemic such as disease prevention, quarantine, compulsory isolation, isolation and treatment, and so forth, is to be convicted and punished as the offense of obstructing public affairs in accordance with paragraphs one and three of Criminal Law article 277. Where people's police are violently attacked as they lawfully perform their duties, it is to be convicted and punished as the crime of obstructing officials, and given a heavier punishment.

(2) Strictly punish crimes of violence against medical personnel in accordance with law. During the period of epidemic prevention and control, intentionally harming medical personnel and causing serious consequences such as minor injuries, or tearing protective equipment off medical personnel or spitting at them, causing medical personnel to be infected with the novel coronavirus, is to be convicted and punished as the crime of intentional harm in accordance with Criminal Law article 234.

Arbitrarily striking medical personnel, where the circumstances are vile, is to be convicted and punished as the crime of provocation [picking quarrels] in accordance with Criminal Law article 293.

Employing violence of other methods to openly berate or intimidate medical personnel, and it meets the requirements of Criminal Law articles 246 or 293, it is to be convicted and punished as criminal insult or provocation.

Where restricting the physical liberty of medical personnel through methods such as not permitting them to leave the worksite meets the requirement of criminal law article 238, it is to be convicted and punished as the crime of unlawful arrest.

(3) Strictly punish crimes of making or selling fakes in accordance with law. During the period of epidemic prevention and control, the production or sale of shoddy prevention and protection goods or supplies, or the production or sale of fake or shoddy medicine used for the prevention of the novel coronavirus pneumonia, where the requirements of articles 140, 141, and 142 are met, is to be convicted and punished as the crimes of production and sale of shoddy goods, the production and sale of fake medicine, o the production and sale of shoddy medicine.

During the period of epidemic prevention and control, the production of surgical masks, safety goggles, protective clothing, and other medical supplies that do not meet state or industry standards for the protection of people's health, or the sale of medical supplies that one knows do not meet standards, sufficient to cause serious harm to people's health, is to be convicted and punished as the crime of production or sale of substandard medical supplies in accordance with Criminal Law article 145.

(4) Strictly punish price hiking crimes in accordance with law. During the period of epidemic prevention and control, violations of state provisions such as on market business operations and price management, by hoarding and profiteering or hiking the prices of items needed for epidemic response, prevention, and control such as masks, safety goggles, protective clothing, and disinfectant, medicines, or other goods related to the people's livelihoods, and profiteering where the amount of unlawful gains is larger or there are other serious situations seriously disrupting market order, are to be convicted and punished as the crime of unlawful business operations in accordance with item Criminal Law article 225(4).

(5) Strictly punish crimes of fraud and looting in accordance with law.During the period of epidemic prevention and control, fraudulently obtaining public or private assets in the name of researching and developing, producing, or selling items used in epidemic prevention and control, or distorting the truth to fraudulently obtain public donations where the amount is larger, is to be punished as the crime of fraud in accordance with Criminal Law article 266.

During the period of epidemic prevention and control, violating state provisions by using advertisements to falsely promote goods or services in the name of disease prevention and control, causing many people to be defrauded, and where there are serious circumstances such as the amounts of unlawful gains being larger, it is to be convicted and punished as the crime of false advertising in accordance with Criminal Law article 222.

Where during the period of epidemic prevention and control, groups are assembled to take public or private property, especially materials for epidemic prevention and control or protection, and the amount is larger or there are other serious circumstances, the principal offenders and active participants are to be convicted and punished for the crime of assembling to rob in accordance with article 268 of the Criminal Law.

(6) Strictly punish crimes of fabricating or spreading rumors in accordance with law.Where the fabrication of false information on the epidemic and disseminating it through information networks or by other media, or intentional dissemination of information on the epidemic that one knows is false through the information networks or other media, seriously disrupting social order, is to be convicted and punished as the crime of fabricating or intentionally disseminating false information as provided for in the second paragraph of Criminal Law article 291-1.

The dissemination of false information on information networks, which one has either invented or clearly knows to be fabricated information, or the organizing or inciting of others to disseminate it on information networks, creating an uproar and causing serious public disorder, is to be convicted and punished as the crime of 'provocation and causing disturbances' in accordance with item 4 in the first paragraph of article 293 of the Criminal Law.

Where the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic is exploited to fabricate or disseminate rumors, incite separatism, or undermine national unity, or to incite subversion of state power or overthrow of the socialist system, it is to be convicted and punished as the crime of inciting separatism or inciting the subversion of state power in accordance with the second paragraph of Criminal Law article 103 or the second paragraph of Criminal Law article 105.

Where network service providers do not perform security management obligations for information networks as provided by laws and administrative regulations and do not make corrections after being ordered to take corrective measures by regulatory departments, causing large scale dissemination of false information on the epidemic or other illegal information, it is to be convicted and punished as the crime of refusing to perform information network security management obligations in accordance with Criminal Law article 286-1.

Cases of fabricating information on the epidemic should be handled precisely and appropriately in accordance with law. Malicious fabrication of epidemic information, causing social panic, stirring up public sentiment, or disrupting social order, especially maliciously attacking the Party and government, taking the opportunity to incite subversion of state power or overthrow of the socialist system, should be strictly punished in accordance with law. Where disseminating false information due to credulity and the harm is not large, it is not to handled as a crime.

(7) Stricly punish criminal dereliction of duty or corruption in epidemic prevention and control in accordance with law. Where during the period of epidemic prevention and control, the staff of state organs that have duties such as organizing, coordinating, directing, investigating disasters, controlling, treatment and rescue, information delivery, transport, or material support, abuse their authority or derelict their duties, causing major damages to public property or the lawful rights and interests of the nation and people, it is to be convicted and punished as the crimes of abusing authority or dereliction of duty in accordance with Criminal Law article 397.

Where the staff of departments for health administration are seriously irresponsible and do not perform, or do not earnestly perform, treatment and oversight duties, causing the transmission or spread of the novel coronavirus pneumonia, and the circumstances are serious, it is to be convicted and punished as criminal negligence in disease prevention in accordance with Criminal Law article 409.

Where personnel engaged in experimentation, storage, carrying or transport of infectious bacteria and viruses, violate relevant provisions of the State Council administrative department of health, resulting in the spread of novel coronavirus and viruses with serious consequences, it is to be convicted and punished as criminal spreading infectious diseases in accordance with Criminal Law Article 331.

Where state employees, personnel entrusted with managing state-owned property, or personnel of companies, enterprises or other units abuse their office to facilitate illegally taking possession of assets meant for the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic by means such as embezzling or withholding, or misappropriate these funds for personal use, and the conditions of Criminal Law article 382, 383, 271, 384, or 272 are met, it is to be convicted and punished as the crime of corruption or taking possession in office, or misappropriating public funds or capital. Where funds for disaster relief, aid benefits, and rescue in the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic are misappropriated, and the conditions of Criminal Law article 273 are met, the directly responsible parties are to be convicted and punished for the crime of misappropriating specially designated funds.

(8) Strictly punish crimes of destroying transportation facilities in accordance with law.Where during the period of epidemic prevention and control, destructive acts such as destroying railway tracks, bridges, tunnels, public roads, airports, waterways, lighthouses, or signals are carried out so as to make trains, automobiles, trams, ships, or aircraft face risks of overturning or destruction; it is to be convicted and punished as the crime of destroying transportation facilities in accordance with Criminal Law article 117 and the first paragraph of article 119.

The handling of cases of destruction of transportation facilities should distinguish them by their specific circumstances and handle them prudently in accordance with law. Where in order to prevent the spread of disease, without authorization roads are blocked to obstruct traffic, but do not cause serious consequences, it is generally not to be treated as a crime and corrections are to be made by the competent departments.

(9) Strictly punish crimes of destroying wildlife resources in accordance with law.Illegally hunting or killing rare and endangered wildlife under key state protection, or illegally purchasing, transporting, or selling rare and endangered wildlife or its derivative products under key state protection, is to be convicted and punished as the crime of illegally hunting or killing rare or endangered wildlife or illegally buying, transporting, or selling rare or endangered wildlife or its derivative products in accordance with the first paragraph of Criminal Law article 341.

Where hunting in violation of hunting regulations, in prohibited areas, during prohibited times, or using prohibited tools or methods, destroying wildlife resources, and the circumstances are serious, it is to be convicted and punished as the crime of illegal hunting in accordance with paragraph 2 of Criminal Law article 341.

Where state provisions are violated by illegally trading in wildlife that is not under key state protection and its derivative items (including opening trading centers, conducting online sales, processing foods for sale, and so forth), disrupting market order and having serious circumstances, it is to be convicted and punished as the crime of illegal business operations in accordance with Criminal Law article 225(4).

Illegally buying for consumption or other purposes what one knows or should know is rare or endangered wildlife or its derivative products and under key state protection, where the requirements of the first paragraph of Criminal Law article 341 are met, is to be convicted and punished as the crime of illegally purchasing rare or endangered wildlife or its derivitative goods.

Buying wildlife that one knows or should know that it is illegal to hunt, is to be convicted and punished as the crime of covering up or concealing criminal gains where eligible under Criminal Law article 312.

(10) Strictly punish illegal acts of obstructing epidemic prevention and control in accordance with law.Where perpetration of the conduct provided for in (1) - (9) above does not constitute a crime, the public security organs are to give public security administrative punishments based on the provisions of the Public Security Administration Law regarding false information disrupting public order, disrupting order at a unit or public venue, provocation, refusing to implement decisions and orders in an emergency, obstructing the performance of public affairs, breaking through police lines or instruments, striking others, intentional harm, insulting others, fraud, illegally digging or gathering gravel near railways, stealing or destroying public facilities near roads, destroying railway facilities and equipment, intentionally destroying property, looting public or property, and so forth; or the relevant departments are to give administrative punishments.

Where violations or crimes are carried out during the period of epidemic prevention and control, it should be considered as an aggravating factor to lawfully embody the requirements of the crackdown policy, to forcefully punish and deter violations and crimes, to preserve the authority of the law, to preserve social order, and to preserve the security of the people's lives and their physical health.

III. Complete and Improve Work Mechanisms to Ensure Case-Handling Efficacy and Safety

 

(1) Promptly investigate cases. Public security organs should lawfully and promptly open a case and investigate cases of obstructions to the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic, and comprehensively collect and fix evidence. The public security organs should lawfully assist medical establishments and relevant departments in employing compulsory isolation and treatment for persons who refuse isolation and treatment or who leave isolation and treatment of their own accord before the end of the isolation period. Law enforcement should be strictly regulated, fair, and civil.

(2) Strengthen communication and coordination. People's courts, people's procuratorates, public security organs, and judicial administrative organs should strengthen communication and coordination to ensure that cases have a smooth investigation, prosecution, trial, and transfer for service of sentences. The public security organs should promptly hear the comments and suggestions of the people's procuratorates in major, sensitive, or complicated cases. In major cases with a large social impact or high degree of public attention, organization and leadership should be strengthened, following the 'three synchronized' requirements of lawful disposition, public opinion guidance, and social control, and promptly announcing case progress to the public, clarifying the truth fo the situation, and doing a good opinion of guiding public opinion.

(3) Safeguard procedural rights. Each procedural right of criminal suspects and defendants, especially defense rights, should be ensured in accordance with law. In accordance with the requirement of complete coverage of lawyers defense in criminal cases, lawyers should be actively organized to lawfully provide a defense or legal assistance to defendants that have not retained a defender. All levels of judicial administrative organs should strengthen guidance and oversight of lawyers' defense representation, leading the wider community of lawyers to lawfully perform defense representation duties, truly protecting the lawful rights and interests of criminal suspects and defendants, and ensure lawyers' correct practice.

(4) Strengthen publicity and education. The people's courts, people's procuratorates, public security organs, and judicial administrative organs should earnestly implement a responsibility system of having 'those who enforce the law explaining it', to carry out in-depth detailed legal publicity and education in combination with case handling. Example cases should be selected to explain the law, increase alerts and education, and deter violators and criminals, fully demonstrating a determination to strictly punish this kind of violation and crime in accordance with law, to preserve the public's safety in their lives and physical health. The broader public should be guided to obey discipline and law, to not believe and spread rumors, and to lawfully support and cooperate with epidemic control work, so as create a positive legal and social environment for smoothly carrying out efforts to prevent and control the epidemic.

(5) Emphasize safety in handling cases. During the period of epidemic prevention and control, in the handling of cases of obstructing the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic, case-handling personnel should emphasize their own safety, increase prevention awareness, and increase capacity for self-protection and prevention when performing functions such as encountering the public, arrest, detention, interrogation, trial, or enforcement. Except where the law requires in-person contact, written methods of inspection may be employed as much as possible, and when necessary, methods such as video may be employed for interrogation of criminal suspects, questioning of victims and witnesses, or hearing the opinions of defense lawyers. Where people's courts hear related cases during the period of epidemic prevention and control, while persisting in lawfully and openly hearing the case, they shall also reduce the congregation of people to the greatest extent possible, and truly protect the safety and health of the litigation participants, observers, and court police.

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