(Photo: Screenshot of Beijing Daily video)
The Australian woman who breached Beijing coronavirus quarantine rules by taking a jog outside her home has been asked to leave China, a decision that instantly won sweeping approval among Chinese netizens, while legal experts said it was a lenient punishment.
The Beijing Public Security Bureau decided to cancel the woman's work-type residence permit in accordance with the law and asked her to leave the country within a certain time, Pan Xuhong, an official from the bureau, told the press on Thursday.
Her work permit was valid until September 5, 2020.
The 47-year-old woman, surnamed Liang, who is ethnic Chinese, entered Beijing from Beijing Capital International Airport on March 14, but was found jogging in her community one day later without wearing a mask.
Police officers in Beijing's Hujialou sub-district received a call on March 15 at 3 pm, and found that the woman refused to cooperate with community epidemic prevention work, Pan said.
In a video clip, Liang, wearing sports clothes and clearly short of breath after a jog, argued loudly with a Beijing community worker, who chided her for leaving her home and jogging outdoors without wearing a mask. The woman did not apologize for her illicit behavior, but instead yelled, "Help! I'm being harassed!" while trying to open the door of her apartment.
Zhi Zhenfeng, a legal expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times that the decision by the Beijing Public Security Bureau was "reasonable" and "lawful" as the woman is suspected of violating China's epidemic laws and regulations.
The public security bureau in Beijing did not file charges against her, which is an act of leniency, Zhi said.
After the video of her went viral on Chinese social media, Liang was immediately dismissed by her employer, Bayer China. Bayer said it fully supports the Chinese government and people's efforts to fight the novel coronavirus, which is now raging around the world, and asked all of its employees to strictly comply with local government measures to fight the virus.