• Xue Liangquan, a Los Angeles-based lawyer, wanted to visit his family in China for Lunar New Year.
  • Instead, Xue said he ended up spending three months under quarantine or in isolation in China.
  • His experience, which he detailed in a WeChat post, shows how China's patchwork of COVID restrictions can upend people's daily lives.

Xue Liangquan, a Los Angeles-based lawyer, arrived in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou on January 4. His plan was to spend the next few weeks visiting family in Shandong province in eastern China, and to spend Lunar New Year, an important traditional holiday for the Chinese, with them.

His hopes did not come to pass.

Instead, Xue, 37, says he went through three consecutive months of quarantine and isolation in Guangzhou and Shanghai from January 2 to April 1. He said he ended his trip by flying back to Los Angeles on April 1, without having seen his family in China.

Xue described the ordeal in a lengthy WeChat post that highlights how China's patchwork of local COVID-19 restrictions can result in miscommunication and confusion. The WeChat post was published on Wednesday and has already racked up more than 100,000 views.

Insider was not able to independently verify the details of Xue's story. Xue did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.

Months of quarantine

Xue says his nightmare started on the day he landed, when he tested positive for the virus. He spent the next four weeks, including Lunar New Year, in a Guangzhou hospital. He said he was discharged on February 1 but was put under observation for another 14 days.

On February 16, he said he left Guangzhou for Shanghai, with plans to meet his family in Shandong. But while he was in Shanghai, Guangzhou authorities told him he had been in close contact with someone who tested positive. Thus, Xue said, he had to start his second quarantine in China on February 20, this time in the Vienna Hotel Shanghai in Songjiang district.

On what was meant to be his last day of quarantine on March 6, officials told him he tested positive and was not allowed leave quarantine. "I asked them to show me the report, they said they didn't have it and were just following orders," Xue wrote in the post.

After getting out of quarantine on March 18, Xue said he had to self-isolate in the Mercure Shanghai Jiuting, a hotel also in Songjiang district, for another 14 days. Only on March 31 at 9 p.m. was he given the all clear. But by then, he said, it was too late: He had previously bought a ticket home for April 1. He caught the flight, never having seen his family in China.

"During this unbelievable three-month journey, I seem to have aged rapidly. In life, we all need to know how to hope, no matter how big, or how small, how distant or how immediate these hopes may be," Xue wrote on WeChat in Chinese.

"And so, having one's hopes up, and then constantly having them dashed — that is the greatest torment of all," he added.

In China, the quarantine continues

Tens of millions of people across China are in strict lockdown as the country attempts to stamp out the virus. The resulting patchwork of regulations means authorities across cities are enforcing guidelines in varying ways, some of have bordered on being brutal.

Flying into China comes with its own complications. Because China has drastically reduced the number of inbound flights, many travelers have to make multiple stops to get to their final destination, meaning they have to adhere to multiple cities' quarantine measures.

Some Chinese social-media users expressed a level of disbelief at Xue's story. Others have defended China's quarantine approach. As one person wrote on Twitter-like platform Weibo, "Why is he complaining about the quaratines? What if he brought the virus into China? He'll end up forcing hundreds of millions of others to also go under quarantine."

On Twitter, a user under the handle @yl_sustainable commented on the article saying that they've not returned to China for more than two years because of these restrictions. "Hopefully policy will change soon," the user wrote.

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