Chinese law professor warns there are legal risks to normalising Covid-19 testing

  • In opinion piece, Zhao Hong, a law professor, also points to financial and labour costs and inadequate transparency and supervision
  • She says penalties announced by local authorities for not complying with testing orders are not supported by Chinese laws

A Chinese law professor has spoken out about normalising compulsory Covid-19 testing, warning there are legal risks involved and a lack of transparency and supervision.

Zhao Hong, a professor at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, also said penalties recently announced by local authorities for not complying with testing orders were not supported by Chinese laws and could infringe on individual rights.

“‘Detention for not taking a nucleic acid test’ is not applicable under Article 50 of the Public Security Administration Punishment Law,” Zhao wrote in an opinion piece published on news website The Paper on Sunday.

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Dr. Zhao Hong, Professor of Law, faculty at the Law School of Peking University, a former Member (2016-2020) and Chairperson of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

She held various senior positions at the PRC Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), including the Commissioner of the Department of WTO Affairs, Assistant Representative of the Office of Trade Negotiations, and Deputy Director-General of the Bureau of Anti-Monopoly.

She chaired the WTO’s TRIMS Committee when working at the China’s Permanent Mission to the WTO as Minister Counsellor. After leaving MOFCOM, she served as a Deputy President of the China Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

She was educated in Peking University Law School with LLB, LLM and PhD degrees. Currently, she is in the indicative list of panelists of WTO dispute settlement, an arbitrator at CIETAC, Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration and Shanghai Arbitration Commission.

She is also an arbitrator on the panel of International Investment Dispute at Beijing Arbitration Commission. Her expertise is in areas of WTO law, international investment law, international trade law, competition and anti-monopoly, IPR and technology transfer and has profound interest in philosophy and history of law etc.

Prof. Zhao is married with a son.


Publications in English?

Zhao Hong, 25 Years of the WTO Dispute Settlement——Glory, Dilemma and Wayout, Journal of WTO and China, Volume 12, Issue 1, 2022, P.3-15.

Zhao Hong, The Ideal and Reality of International Rule of Law: A critique at a Challenging Era,China and WTO Review, 2020:2, 395-406, pISSN 2383-8221, eISSN 2384-4388.

Zhao Hong, Equal Justice Under the Treaty, Journal of WTO and China, March 2021;

Zhao Hong, International Law at a Crossroad: An Ideal and the Reality of International Law, Journal of WTO and China, Volume 10, No.1, March 20, 2020, See also China and WTO Review, August 2020, published by YIJUN Institute of International Law, Seoul, Korea;

Zhao Hong, International Investment Law?Its Evolution and China’s Experience in Four Decades, A Forward to China’s Investment Strategy, Bilateral, Regional and Global Law and Policy, edited by Julien Chaisse, published by Oxford University Press, 2019. See also Journal of WTO and China, Volume 8, No. 4, December 20, 2018.

Zhao Hong, Reflections on How the G20 Could Enhance the Multilateral Trading System, see G20 Hangzhou Summit 2016, p41-48, published by International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, July 2016, Geneva, Switzerland;

Zhao Hong, China’s WTO accession and its Development of Rule of Law, see Journal of WTO and China, 2016, Beijing?

Zhao Hong: Legal Issues on Modification and Transfer of Contracts: A Comparative Study; see Comparative Analysis on the Chinese Contract Law, published by BWV.Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, Berlin, Germany, 2003.

Zhao Hong: Legal Issues of the Entrustment Contract–from the perspective of Comparative Law, see Comparative Analysis on the Chinese Contract Law, published by BWV.Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, Berlin, Germany, 2003.


Publication in French:

Zhao Hong, L’humanité peut-elle vaincre la pandémie de COVID-19 ?

Translated by Liu Yang,