Seventeen years after the tragic SARS outbreak, the Chinese communist regime continues to cover up information – this time, with the new coronavirus that broke out last year and that had killed 80 people by January 26, 2020.
Ever since the first infection was reported in Wuhan, Hubei Province on December 8, 2019, the Chinese authorities have been working very hard to censor the information.
On January 1, 2020, eight netizens were arrested for sharing information about the virus on the Internet and were charged with “spreading rumors.”
From January 6 to 10, 2020, the government reported zero new infection cases, during which time two big political events, the annual meetings of the city’s People’s Congress and People’s Political Consultative Conference took place.
Days later, as infection cases were reported one after another in Hong Kong and other Asian countries, such as Thailand and Japan, Wuhan was still the only city in China that had coronavirus patients, leaving people in China calling it the “patriotic virus.”
Even four days before the lockdown of Wuhan on January 23, 2020, Li Gang, director and chief physician for the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told state media China Central Television (CCTV) that “the risk of continuous human-to-human transmission is low,” and that “with the implementation of our various prevention and control measures, the epidemic can be prevented and controlled.”
While medical staffs tirelessly treated patients, hospitals suffered shortage of testing kits and protective suits, and patients could not get a hospital bed and had to “self-quarantine” at home, the Hubei Provincial officials enjoyed song and dance performances at a party with more than 40,000 families to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Netizens were furious; even Zhang Ouya, a senior reporter for the provincial Party mouthpiece Hubei Daily, made a rare move and openly criticized the government.
As the situation rapidly worsened and the number of infected patients increased exponentially, the authorities finally came forward and announced the lockdown of Wuhan and a dozen other cities in Hubei Province.
But it was too late – the virus has already spread to other parts of China due to busy holiday travel in the transportation hub in the center of the country. Only two days after the lockdown, thirty provinces in China reported cases of infection and declared a “Grade I public health emergency.”
None of the state’s propaganda media mentioned the crisis in the headlines, but instead featured Xi Jinping’s New Year speech and holiday celebration news. The CCTV only ran a one-minute broadcast about the Wuhan lockdown during its primetime evening news.
Even today, the government continues to obstruct media reporting on the coronavirus and does not allow doctors to take interviews. People who have posted information on WeChat and other social media continue to be arrested and face years in prison for “spreading rumors and causing negative social impact.”
People are commenting in Chinese homonyms, on the Internet, that pneumonia is the result of “vaporizing people’s voices,” the epidemic is karmic retribution for controlling public opinion, and the city lockdowns are the price for “sealing the people’s mouth.”