March 27 (UPI) — Police in China clashed with each other and with people trying to cross a bridge between Hubei and Jiangxi provinces, according to footage uploaded to Chinese social media on Friday.
Video taken at the bridge Friday afternoon at the Yangtze River shows the escalation of violence as people try to leave Hubei, while police on the other side in Jiangxi try to block their passage, Canada’s Globe and Mail reported.
The skirmish was filmed two days after Chinese authorities lifted travel restrictions against Hubei residents. China has resumed operations of trains and buses out of the coronavirus-hit province. On Friday, the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, was reclassified as a “medium risk” zone after being assigned a “high risk” rating since January.
Distrust of China’s numbers and safety ratings may run high, however.
When Jiangxi police blocked people leaving Hubei, Hubei police fought back.
On Twitter, Chinese-Australian dissident and artist Badiucao said Friday the conflict “started due to police from different provinces fighting for jurisdiction on checking #COVID19.”
The artist also described the incident as a “riot.”
The footage also shows police vehicles being overturned and police pushing each other as crowds of people shout in protest, as they abandon the globally recommended policy of social distancing.
“It’s dangerous for you to gather like this on the bridge,” says Ma Yangzhou, secretary of the party committee in Huangmei County in Hubei, according to the Globe and Mail. Ma also said the “risk of virus infection” still remains, the report says.
The coronavirus outbreak that began in China has deeply affected perceptions of Beijing in Taiwan.
According to a survey published Thursday by Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, 76.6 percent see China as unfriendly, the highest level in 15 years, according to the Taipei Times.
On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative, “sending a strong message to nations that there will be consequences for supporting Chinese actions that undermine Taiwan,” according to U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who introduced the bill last May.