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Leadership: Xi Explains His Role in Containing Coronavirus since January 7

Qiushi Journal, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee’s flagship bimonthly periodical, released a speech that Xi Jinping, the CCP General Secretary, gave at the February 3 meeting of the Politburo Standing Committee.

Qiushi published the full text of Xi’s speech on Saturday, February 15. In the speech, Xi explained his role since January 7, 2020, in containing the novel coronavirus. After consolidating power, Xi has made it a rule that different organizations, including the National People’s Congress, State Council, each headed by a Politburo Standing Committee member, all report their work to him. This is the first time he had to explain to others what he has been doing.

China experts observed that Xi has been under mounting domestic and international pressure because of the outbreak, as well as the spread of the coronavirus. In order to “gain international understanding and support,” Xi offered guidance on “communicating with WHO, and with relevant countries and regions, to promote information sharing and policy coordination.” Meanwhile, Wilbur Ross, the US commerce secretary, revealed that the 15-member WHO delegation has no US experts in it.

Xi also wanted to “ensure societal control and security by stepping up law enforcement and mobilizing public security and the armed police in joint efforts.” Xi made no mention of the delayed or inaccurate reporting that the local leaders from Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak had voiced.

Xi gave orders to “strengthen control and management of Internet media; push for clear organizational and individual obligations, management obligations, and supervision obligations; and strike against and handle those who spread rumors and stir up trouble.”

On February 4, the day after Xi’s speech, Zhao Kezhi, minister of China’s ministry of public security, told police personnel across the country through a teleconference to maintain a secure and stable environment to fight the virus. He said the police needed to place “political security” above everything else, and to crack down on “domestic and international hostile forces.”

Xi also emphasized adherence to the economic goals set for this year, including achieving “moderate prosperity.”

Related postings on Chinascope:

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Leadership: Xi Not Happy with Tough Measures to Contain Coronavirus When Measures Harm Economy

The  Chinese edition of BBC tweeted on Tuesday, February 11 that, after making an appearance in Beijing’s residential community and hospital on Monday February 10, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, warned Chinese officials that their excessive measures to contain the coronavirus could harm the economy,.

China’s Xinhua News Agency reported that Xi chaired a Politburo Standing Committee meeting on February 12, and noted “positive changes” with “positive results” in containing the coronavirus, while acknowledging that containing the outbreak has entered a critical stage.

Li Keqiang, China’s premier also held a State Council meeting on February 11, calling for orderly pushing companies outside Hubei province, where the coronavirus first erupted, to allow workers to go back to work.

Related postings on Chinascope:

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Two Large Cities in China Introduced Laws to Allow Seizure of Private Property to Contain Coronavirus

The authorities in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, two of China’s top four mega cities (the other two being Beijing and Shanghai) were given the power to requisition private property when they deemed it necessary to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The standing committee of the People’s Congress in Guangzhou and in  Shenzhen made the announcement on February 11, 2020. Both cities are located in southern Guangdong province.

The private property which could be seized, according to decisions of the People’s Congress of each of the two cities, includes houses, facilities, transportation vehicles, and other equipment. Government officials also have the authority to order companies to produce supplies which they think should take priority in containing the spread of the coronavirus.

In 2007, China’s National People’s Congress passed a national law to protect private property. This is the first time local governments cited an emergency clause in the private property law stating that the property of companies and individuals can be requisitioned.

Local authorities have been given the power to quarantine suspected patients and to screen all residents. Continue reading

After Beijing Accused US over Evacuation, Two Foreigners Died from nCoV

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters on Monday February 10 that two foreign citizens died from the coronavirus.

During last week’s routine press briefings, Hua Chunying, foreign ministry spokeswoman, accused the United States of “unceasingly manufacturing and spreading panic” by pulling its nationals out of China and restricting travel while not providing “any substantial assistance to China.”

In making public her negative assessment of the US position and its decisions as “setting a very bad example,” the spokeswoman did not appear to attach any weight to favorable comments that US officials made previously about China’s containing the coronavirus. On the other hand, Chinese state-run media had taken these favorable comments from foreign leaders as serious evidence to convince the Chinese people that the government is doing a superb job.

Publicly airing such unfriendly views toward the Trump administration also undercut what Xi Jingping, general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, had previously boasted, namely that China and the US have successfully managed their differences. Xi made the observation in a letter to President Donald Trump, which Vice Premier Li He read out loud at the January 15 ceremony for the  signing the phase one trade deal between the two countries.

Hua stated that, since January 3, 2020, China had provided 30 briefings on the novel coronavirus devleopments in China to US health officials .

There was an outcry over Chinese social media that the Chinese people were kept in the dark until January 20, 2002. Worse, January 3 turned out to be the day when China Central Television (CCTV), China’s state-run television station, broadcast nationally, how eight people in Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, were reprimanded because the police had stopped all public discussion of the coronavirus cases thathad started to appear. Dr Li Wenliang, who died on the night of February 6 was among the eight people that CCTV humiliated.

On the other hand, some Chinese noted that the US could very well have been misled in those 30 briefings that Hua mentioned, just as the Chinese people were. Continue reading

CCP Loyalist Warns Chinese Students in Germany Not to Commemorate Wuhan Physician

Students in Berlin, Germany were gathering at Brandenburg Gate on February 9, 2020, to commemorate Dr. Li Wenliang, a physician in Wuhan, China who passed away two days earlier. Over a month ago, Li broke the news  that a new type of coronavirus had infected patients, but the police then penalized him. On January 3, China Central Television (CCTV), Beijing’s state-run television, broadcast the news that the Wuhan police had reprimanded Li. He was among eight people who alerted others about the virus on social media.

One student, loyal to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), issued a warning to other Chinese students who might attend the gathering. The person cried out, “Ab-so-lute-ly NO participation! This is a critical moment, everyone must exercise caution. Some murky forces are trying to make the most out of [the death of] Dr. Li. I have verified that the organizers have an anti-China background. Please spread the word. Don’t let those with ulterior motives take advantage of this occasion. To commemorate Li Wenliang is only an excuse. To make bloody gains out of the doctor’s death is what they want.”

It is apparent that this person (making this statement) has resources at his disposal to enable him to gather information about or keep dossiers on the event’s organizers.

Meanwhile, within China, given the outpouring of public grief and anger, People’s Daily, the CCP official newspaper, took the opposite approach of actively facilitating favorable actions taken regarding Dr. Li. The People’s Daily commentator cheered when a special team was dispatched to Wuhan to investigate any wrongs that was carried out against Dr. Li. Continue reading

Wuhan to Round Up All Suspected nCoV Patients

According to “Xiakedao,” a social media account that People’s Daily operates, on February 9, 2020, Wuhan stepped up its all-out campaign to round up every single one of the four types of suspected nCov patients.

The four types are: confirmed patients, suspected patients, those in close contact with the former two, and those who have a fever.

Total of 16,739 officials and employees from agencies and enterprises directly affiliated with the city government took part in the Feb 9 roundup. They joined existing residential community work groups to comb through the entire population of around 10 million. These work groups are conducting door-to-door health checks to identify potential carriers who need be isolated.

Sun Chunlan, the female Vice Premier of China’s State Council, who called for a “people’s war” against the fast-spreading virus, gave the order on February 6. Guangming Daily, the State Council’s official newspaper, issued a commentary on February 9 saying that it was of the utmost importance to quarantine these people centrally, so that the spread of the epidemic could be stopped. The commentary also acknowledged the lack of medical supplies in Wuhan, but it claimed that over 11,000 medical staff members have been dispatched to Wuhan from across China.

It is not yet clear what the total number of these four types of people will be. Earlier reports have indicated that there is a devastating environment in the large, new quarantine facilities that were converted from stadiums or exhibition centers. Continue reading

Public Opinion: Outpouring of Grief and Anger upon Death of Chinese Doctor Who Warned Others About Coronavirus

Li Wenliang, an eye doctor in Wuhan, China, was among the eight people (all physicians in Wuhan) who warned the public about the novel coronavirus. He passed away on the night of February 6, 2020.

According to a Chinese journal, people had been in critical condition when transferred to Wuhan Central Hospital on the afternoon of February 6.

BBC Chinese reported that the official Chinese media People’s Daily and Global Times, and a more outspoken news outlet The Beijing News all reported the passing away of 34-year-old Dr. Li at 9:30 p.m. February 6. However, within two hours, all these reports were deleted and could not be found online. Chinese media claimed that Dr. Li was still under recovery.

An outpouring of grief and anger appeared on China’s social media.

In what Al Jazeera called a “political resuscitation,” the Chinese authorities gave orders after Dr. Li’s heart had stopped beating to stop the resuscitation only to calm the public’s rage.

Al Jazeera‘s report was further confirmed by the People magazine and a number of online posts that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials in charge of Dr. Li’s treatment refused repeated requests from rescuing physicians to put him on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), and did it only when the higher up told them to do so. After Dr. Li’s heart stopped beating and the information was spread out, the CCP organization needed to soothe the public mourn and anger by putting the ECMO on to show they had tried everything possible and also to decide on the timing of the eventual announcement of Dr. Li’s death.

A blogger mourned on Weibo (China’s equivalent of Twitter), “Those who tell the truth are arrested for spreading rumors and those who tell nothing but lies become the leaders.” Continue reading

Two Chinese Provinces Lock Down Residential Communities

On Feb 5 and Feb 6, 2020, Taiwan’s leading news portal ETtoday reported that Liaoning and Jiangxi provinces both announced lockdowns of residential communities across the entire province.

Each of the two provinces has a population of well over 40 million.

Over 36 Chinese cities have imposed restrictions on residents, preventing them from leaving home. The lockdown of a residential community means that anyone without official authorization is not allowed to enter the neighborhood. Jiangxi province’s measure has a further restriction that only one person in each family is allowed to go out shopping every other day. Continue reading