Skip to content

Leadership: Wuhan Municipal Website Defended Its Mayor

On February 11, 2020, CNHan.com, the website that the media Yangtze River 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:

Screenshot:

Excerpt in Chinese:

这篇武汉『汉网』刊出的题为“‘疫’流而上,何不多给武汉市长暖暖心”的文章大有深意。文章写到:“很多人说,疫情在全国的蔓延,武汉市长周先旺有不可推卸的主要责任,可是又有谁去理性看待这位市长背后的无奈?早在疫情发生12月,武汉已将相关情况上报国家卫生部门,专家组一行也深入到武汉调研,给出了初步结论,这位市长亦非专业医学出身,遵从专家的建议又何错之有?”

“何错之有?”这句话的指向毫无疑问是指向北京中央的,就在星期二,习近平已开始动手,撤换湖北卫健委书记和主任,由北京派去的王贺胜身兼两制,此外,习近平的亲信,陈一新以中央指导小组副组长身份,在武汉指挥抗疫,武汉乃至湖北的所有党政领导形同架空,之所以这样,是习近平对武汉疫情给全国造成这么大的影响很不满。

『汉网』的报道,有人分析说武汉当局不至于公开向北京挑战吧?有人认为是市长周先旺为他的后路抗争。

Source: Radio France International, February 12, 2020
http://www.rfi.fr/cn/中国/20200212-武汉当局泄露天机-12月份就已向中央报告疫情