Chinese official suspended after son boasted online about getting round coronavirus travel ban

Phoebe Zhang

A Chinese official has been suspended after his son bragged on social media that he had used his connections to get round the strict travel controls in Hubei province.

Several cities have been locked down to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and roads around the province have been closed.

But the young man, named He Hao, boasted that his father had arranged for a car to take him from Tianman city to Jingzhou.

His father He Yanfang is the market director of Jingzhou’s commerce department, according to a government statement posted on Weibo on Saturday.

He Hao was forced to apologise for his comments. Photo: Handout

He Hao had earlier posted a video on the same platform that showed the car passing a toll station in Tianmen with a sign that read “transport restriction”.

He wrote: “I never thought my dad had much power, he has been an official all his life and I had never benefited from it, until this outbreak.

“When the whole province shut the roads, he used his connections to send a car that picked me up from Tianmen and drove back to Jingzhou.”

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His post caused an uproar online, with people questioning his father’s political status and calling for an anti-corruption investigation.

“We saw a story about a nurse cycling for four days to get back to Wuhan, but here you have a second-generation official bragging about abuse of power,” one comment said.

He Hao wrote that he had been quarantined in Tianman for 22 days and his father had asked a friend in the city who had permission to carry vital supplies to give him a lift back to Jingzhou.

The current restrictions in force in Hubei ban the transport of people, livestock and wild animals.

He shared footage of the journey on Weibo. Photo: Handout

The younger He has since apologised and promised to “strictly follow laws and regulations and pay close attention to my speech and behaviour in future”.

He also deleted all his Weibo posts and changed his username, but this was not enough to quell the angry backlash and screen shots of his posts continued to circulate online.

These were shared under the hashtag “your father’s carelessness might lose Jingzhou” – an allusion to the renowned Three Kingdoms era general Guan Yu, whose negligence led to the fall of the city in 220.

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