China’s brutal zero-Covid regime killed my 3-year-old son, says father

The father of a three-year-old boy who died in China on Tuesday said the country’s strict zero Covid policies “indirectly killed” his son.

Tuo Shilei said his son, Wenxuan, was delayed in receiving treatment due to the strict lockdown in the city of Lanzhou.

The three-year-old died from carbon monoxide poisoning in northwest China on Tuesday. His death has triggered a tsunami of outrage and anger on Chinese social media platforms.

The father alleged the local police did not immediately respond to his emergency call. The police has, however, dismissed his accusations and said they responded immediately to the call.

Mr Tuo said he could not take his son out of the residential complex for more than an hour. Lanzhou, the capital of the Gansu province where the father lives, has been under lockdown for several months.

“I personally think that he was indirectly killed,” Mr Tuo told Reuters.

His wife had already fallen unwell after a suspected gas leak in his apartment on Tuesday. She slipped and fell to the ground after inhaling the toxic fumes.

The wife, who could not be identified immediately, later reportedly showed improvement.

Mr Tuo had noticed his son’s worsening condition and by midday on Tuesday, desperately attempted to call the police or an ambulance.

After about half an hour of frantically looking for help, he started giving his three-year-old son CPR, which helped to some extent.

He then rushed his son to the entrance of their residential complex where he was stopped by security guards because the city was under strict lockdown. The staff at the gates would not let him past the entrance and instead told him to call an ambulance.

He crashed through the gate and took a taxi to a local hospital where doctors declared his three-year-old son dead.

“My son’s cause of death was an accident, but during the whole process of our call for help, there was avoidance of responsibility and dereliction of duty. The pandemic control went too far,” the grief-stricken father was quoted as saying by the BBC

Late on Tuesday when news of the three-year-old’s death emerged online, there were angry protests.

“The three years of the pandemic was his whole life,” one protester was heard saying.

Soon, the three-year-old’s tragic story became viral on Chinese social media as well. On Weibo, “three years of Covid was his entire life” started trending.

“The kid’s memory will sadly be of masks and nothing else,” wrote one user.

“Even if the police reacted quickly enough, shouldn’t there be a thorough investigation about whether any side blocked the father from getting help?” another user questioned on Weibo.

On Wednesday morning, a funeral for the three-year-old boy was held in the family’s nearby home town of Hezheng.

The father did not attend for fear of being quarantined on arrival.