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Chinese students get slammed for returning home to China

With Covid-19 being the main subject of the news and in fact, being the main issue for most people, a question arises about students who choose to return to their home countries. Chinese students have chosen to flock home to China with many of them being the subject of abuse and harassment, both to their faces and online.

The outbreak in China is believed to be under control after totalling over 3,000 deaths. The Chinese authorities have stated that they do not want to cause a second wave of infections and have implemented a rule that any person returning to China must go into a 14-day isolation period. This applies to both Chinese citizens and foreigners.

Despite the mandatory measures in place many Chinese students have been the victims of criticism on social media platforms with people accusing them of harming the country’s efforts to keep the virus under control. Many students have been accused of taking advantage of medical resources.

One such student Little Yang arrived in Shanghai in March. He had been studying in Italy and has been quarantined in a hotel since he arrived home. Yang posted a short video of himself saying that he intended to limit his contact with other people and completely quarantine himself.

The video brought an onslaught of negative replies, mostly in Chinese, saying that he is not only selfish but an opportunist who had no concern for the well-being of his country.

Yang was further accused of re-introducing the virus into some provinces that had almost eradicated it.

According to the Guardian, there is some truth in these accusations. On March 18 the Health Commission in China reported zero cases for the first time since the end of December. On March 19 the capital reported that they had a total of 64 cases – all imported – from students returning home.

Making the situation worse was that several students did not reveal where they had returned from and went back to work with coronavirus symptoms.

So, should students be allowed home?

Many supportive messages have also been posted on social media platforms. People admit that many of the students who are returning home are underage and are most likely very stressed by the virus as well as their own families in China. One Weibo user commented (in Chinese) that the country should welcome the students back, provided they abide by the quarantine rules.

Surprisingly even the Communist Party newspaper commented that ‘while the Covid-19 virus is raging through the world, China is the students' 'haven’ and it was their right to return to the motherland. A spokesperson added that it is China’s responsibility to protect their citizens, including returning students.

To sum up

While there is so much finger pointing at people who try to return to their home countries, it seems a good idea to stop accusing people of things like this. The truth of the matter is that many thousands of people are displaced at this time and would dearly love to be home with their families.

As long as people returning to their home countries abide by the rules of isolation, we would do well to focus on keeping ourselves and our immediate surroundings safe and virus free. It is a natural instinct that people want to be in a safe place when times are troubled, and to accuse underage students of selfishness is simply unfair and unkind.

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