On February 11, 2020, CNHan.com, the website that the media Changjiang Daily, the official newspaper under the Wuhan Communist Party Committee runs, published an article to defend its Mayor Zhou Xianwang.
The article said, “Many people claimed that the Wuhan Mayor, Zhao Xianwang, has an inescapable primary responsibility for letting the epidemic spread across the country, but who has taken a rational view to see that the mayor had no choice? As early as the December of the outbreak, Wuhan reported the relevant situation to the national health organization. The expert team came to Wuhan to investigate and gave a preliminary conclusion. The mayor did not have a professional medical background, so what was wrong for him to follow the experts’ recommendations? . . . When (on January 20) Dr. Zhong Nanshan declared that the virus could not be transmitted from person to person, how much political risk would the mayor have faced to make the unprecedented decision to lock down the city?”
It further went on to praise the mayor’s courage for locking down the city for the benefit of the country.
The article argued for a few points:
1. In December, the mayor had already reported the epidemic to the Central government.
2. The mayor followed the expert team’s opinion (the team claimed the virus wouldn’t pass from person to person, so he didn’t take action to stop public gatherings earlier). It was not until January 20, that China officially admitted the person to person transmission.
Beijing has started replacing officials at Hubei and Wuhan. The first round was replacement of both the Party Secretary and the Director of the Hubei Provincial Health Bureau. On February 13, Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong was appointed as the Hubei Party Secretary and Wang Zhonglin from Jinan City Party Secretary, Shandong Province, was appointed as the Wuhan Party Secretary. Ying Yong, Wang Zhonglin, and Chen Yixin (the former Wuhan Mayor and now the Deputy Director of Central Government Oversight Committee at Wuhan) all have been working in the party’s Political and Legal Affairs system, whose primary job is to maintain social stability.
Replacing the Hubei Governor or Wuhan Mayor may need to wait for the meeting of the corresponding People’s Congress, though it is just a pass-through.
The Wuhan Mayor is likely to use this article to fight for his safe landing. He made a similar claim before. In an interview with the China Central Television (CCTV) on January 27, 2020, Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xianwang claimed that he was not “authorized” earlier to release the epidemic information to the public.
It is very rare in China’s political system to see a subordinate openly pushing blame onto higher levels, especially repeatedly doing so.
Related postings on Chinascope:
- Leadership: Xi Jinping Told Trump That by April, the Heat Will Kill Coronavirus
- Leadership: Xi Jinping Made a Public Appearance on February 10
- Leadership: Xi Jinping: I Have Been In Charge All Along
- Leadership: Wuhan Party Secretary Mentioned a Few Critical Dates
- Leadership: Wuhan Mayor Not “Authorized” to Release Epidemic Information to the Public Before
Excerpt in Chinese:
Source: Radio France International, February 12, 2020