mandag 11. mai 2020

COVID-19: Trouble on the China-Russia Border

Suifenhe is a county-level city on the eastern edge of China’s 4,300-kilometer border with Russia. It is 2,000 km away from Wuhan, where the COVID-19 crisis began late last year, and until recently, the epidemic may have felt quite distant. Locally, Suifenhe is best known for a series of increasingly extravagant national gates in its land port, which are designed to project China’s progress over recent decades, in the face of Russia’s simultaneous decline. During the current pandemic, however, this land port was repurposed as a collective quarantine site for 1,479 Chinese citizens.

This is the result of the hasty return of Chinese citizens domiciled in Russia, which has seen Suifenhe replace Wuhan as the new focal point in China’s domestic struggle to contain COVID-19. As of April 20, 2020, almost 2,500 nationals had re-entered China via the city’s land port. Of them, 377 were diagnosed with COVID-19, with 27 designated as “asymptomatic” cases in China’s terminology.