A Chinese man was sentenced to death on the weekend for fatally stabbing two officials at a roadblock set up to contain the spread of the coronavirus in early February. A court in the southwestern province of Yunnan handed down the death sentence to 23-year-old Ma Jianguo on Sunday for the stabbings on February 6. “Ma ignored national laws when Yunnan was at the most critical stage of a public health emergency. [He] ignored virus control policies, leading to the serious consequence of the lives of two people being taken away. Such behaviour is considered intentional murder,” the Intermediate People’s Court in Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture said in a statement. Ma was travelling in his car with a passenger between townships when they were stopped at the roadblock, according to the court. The passenger got out of the car to remove the roadblock so the vehicle could go through, refusing to obey official warnings not to do so. County official Zhang Guizhou took out his phone to film the two for refusing to comply with the government’s arrangements and Ma then took out a pocket knife and stabbed Zhang multiple times in the chest. Ma also stabbed Li Guomin, a township-level official at the checkpoint, as Li went to Zhang’s aid. Both Zhang and Li died from their wounds. Ma had previously been charged with assault, with the attacks on Zhang and Li his second offence within five years. The court took this into consideration when handing down its ruling even though Ma turned himself in, according to the official document. Local governments across the country have imposed restrictions on most traffic since late January, when reports of the rapid spread of the coronavirus began emerging in China. The virus has infected over 79,000 people and killed more than 2,800 in mainland China as of Sunday. Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.