A short video clip showing anti-epidemic staff roughing up a foreigner who refused to wear a mask had gone viral on Sunday. On Monday, the police in Xi'an city's Yanta district said the foreigner had violated Chinese laws on epidemic control and public security and therefore they told him to leave China within a stipulated period. The foreigner had left by Tuesday.
The whole affair involving the foreigner and the anti-epidemic staff was dispensed with in less than 48 hours-displaying the inviolability of Chinese law and the determination of its enforcers.
It is legally binding on anyone living on Chinese soil-whether local or a foreigner-to wear a mask in public during the novel coronavirus outbreak. The viral video even showed the foreigner picking up a stone and hurling it at the anti-epidemic staff while screaming at them.
It was not clear if anybody suffered injuries, but such an attack could have invited criminal charges. Undoubtedly, the foreigner got the penalty he deserved, putting to rest rumors that foreigners enjoy "super-national" status in China, and escape penalty despite creating public disorder because some local police want to avoid trouble. The case in Xi'an is the best example that nobody breaking the law in China goes unpunished.
As globalization deepens, China will more frequently be hiring personnel from overseas, making foreigners a common sight in every corner of China. That should not make a dent on strict enforcement of the law, which is necessary to maintain social order in the country.