Hubei Province, the province where the epidemic is most severe, held a press conference on January 26. Governor Wang Xiaodong, the Wuhan city mayor Zhou Xianwang, and other officials spoke at the conference. A series of mistakes they made at the press conference angered many Chinese netizens.
Governor Wang Xiaodong didn’t wear a mask at the press conference. This was a violation of Wuhan’s regulation that wearing a mask in a public area was compulsory. Netizens also pointed out that the Wuhan mayor, Zhou Xianwang, wore his mask incorrectly. It was inside out. People were critical of the mayor. If the mayor does not know how to wear a mask, “how could ordinary people know?” Some even called these officials “incompetent and irresponsible politicians.”
In China, criticisms of politicians are often quickly removed from cyberspace, but this time the speed of angry comments from the people even exceeded the speed of the online censorship. One online post criticizing the press conference received more than 680 million views on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform.
Netizens also focused on the inaccuracies in governor Wang’s speech. When referring to the annual output of masks in Hubei Province, he repeatedly revised the data first from 10.8 billion to 1.8 billion and then he reduced it to 1.08 million. One netizen was puzzled, “As the governor, how can you not know how many masks Hubei produces?”
Hubei Province is the epicenter of the outbreak. Wuhan pneumonia has reportedly killed at least 81 people and infected more than 2,700 people worldwide, including in the United States, Australia and Taiwan.
Source: Central News Agency, January 28, 2020