Are Chinese Local Health Departments Authorized to Requisition Masks in Transit During COVID-19?

Zhang Hui (Angela)

I. Introduction

When the COVID-19 pandemic started to spread in China in January this year, medical supplies such as masks were in shortage in many Chinese cities. Cities took different actions to resolve the demand for masks, but the health department of Dali City, Yunnan Province adopted a controversial one. On February 2, 2020, the Dali Health Department seized 598 boxes of masks in transit through Dali. Under Chinese law, this is a form of administrative requisition. Qingdao and Shenyang had similar plans until the State Council stopped them.

This ongoing issue stirred a debate online among Chinese netizens and legal professionals. They were concerned that such requisition would threaten the property rights of Chinese individuals, commercial … Read the rest