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Public Opinion: Fang Bin, a Volunteer News Reporter Was Arrested

Since the government filters out a lot of information, many people in China try to post information on the Internet on their own. Fang Bin was an example.

Fang’s most famous posting was the YouTube video that he posted on February 1, 2020, when he drove to several hospitals to observe the situation there. In the video, he saw a car from the Wucang Funeral House parked outside of the Wuhan No 5 Hospital. When he arrived (at 28:00 minutes), there were three corpses inside the car. After he went inside the ER room and came out, by then (at 32:00 minutes) he saw the car had eight corpses. A person (possibly someone from the funeral house) also showed anger toward the authorities: “They only report a dozen deaths a day!”

After that, the police stayed outside of his apartment building to monitor him. Fang had reported every day on the Internet that he had not been arrested yet and thanked the public for their attention that was keeping him safe. On February 9, sources confirmed that police broke into his apartment and took him away.

Source:
1. YouTube

2. Liberty Times, February 11, 2020
https://news.ltn.com.tw/news/world/breakingnews/3065116

Stability Control: High-Tech Companies Seek Funds for Stability Control During Epidemic

Amidst the novel coronavirus epidemic, about 300 Chinese companies are seeking a total of at least 57.4 Billion Yuan (US $8.2 Billion) in loans. Either the epidemic has hit them badly or they will participate in the control of the epidemic.

Among them, one is the facial recognition company, Megvii Technologies. It applied for 100 million Yuan (US $14 million) to enhance the facial recognition accuracy of people wearing masks.

Qihoo 360 also seeks 1 billion Yuan (US $140 million). It said that it will use the money to buy medical related products and develop an application to follow and prevent the coronavirus. Qihoo 360 is an Internet security company known for its antivirus software, web browser, and mobile application store. Continue reading

Infection Count: Wuhan Epidemic Control Command Center Ordered 100,000 Patient Beds

Epoch Times, an independent Chinese media, reported that the Wuhan Novel Coronavirus Prevention and Control Command Center issued an emergency notice, requesting the local command center and relevant business units to prepare 100,000 patient beds by February 20.

According to the scanned images that Epoch Times posted, the order stated:

Phase 1: Prepare 50,000 beds by February 10, including 12,500 beds for critically ill patients, 18,000 for mild patients, and 21,020 for those quarantined.

Phase 2: Prepare 80,000 beds by February 15, including 13,000 beds for critically ill patients, 23,100 for mild patients, and 44,000 for those quarantined.

Phase 3: Prepare 100,000 beds by February 20, including 14,000 beds for critically ill patients, 30,000 for mild patients, and 56,000 for those quarantined.

People have been questioning the accuracy of the infection count that Beijing reported. On February 12, Tencent reported the official statistics as 44,730 infection cases nationwide with 33,366 in Hubei Province. On February 13, Tencent statistics jumped to 59,901 infection cases nationwide, a 34 percent increase from the previous day. Infection cases in Hubei province jumped to 48,206, or a 44 percent increase. A Beijing expert explained that this was due to adjusting the coronavirus infection verification method.

However, even with the adjusted higher number, there is still a gap between the 100,000 beds and the officially reported confirmed cases in Wuhan (there is no specific number for Wuhan but one can assume it is part of the Hubei count).

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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.

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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.

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Public Opinion: Calling for Wuhan People to Protest from Home on February 14

A Twitter account @WH_Revolution called for the people in Wuhan to protest the communist government’s suppression of freedom of speech and its hiding of information. It proposed that people do the following to protest from their homes from 8 pm to 8:30 pm on February 14, 2020:

  1. Turn off the lights for one minute at 8 pm.
  2. Simultaneously knock on pans and shout “Protest.”
  3. Shout the following slogan: “Cheers, Wuhan People!” “Wuhan People, Save Ourselves!” “Release Chen Qiushi!” and “Release Fang Bin!” [Editor’s Note: both Chen Qiushi and Fang Bin were arrested for revealing the truth about the epidemic situation in Wuhan.]
  4. Sing China’s National Anthem.
  5. Throw flyers and other pieces of paper from their homes.
  6. Conduct a live broadcast on the Internet or record short videos to spread on Internet.

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Leadership: Xi Jinping Told Trump That by April, the Heat Will Kill the Coronavirus

President Donald Trump said on February 10, 2020, that he had a phone conversation with Xi Jinping. Xi told him that the novel coronavirus was likely to die off “by April” because of the heat.

Trump made the remark at the White House while speaking at an event with U.S. state governors.

“I had a long talk with President Xi—for the people in this room—two nights ago, and he feels very confident,” Trump said. “He feels very confident, and he feels that . . . by April or during the month of April, the heat, generally speaking, kills this kind of virus. So that would be a good thing.”

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Source: Newsweek, February 10, 2020
https://www.newsweek.com/trump-says-chinese-president-xi-told-him-coronavirus-will-killed-heat-april-1486571

Leadership: Xi Jinping Made a Public Appearance on February 10

Xi Jinping made a high-profile appearance on February 10, He visited a local community, hospital and the epidemic control center and he also had a tele-conference with Wuhan.

Xi’s last public appearance was on February 5 when he met Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Some Western media commented that Xi might have been forced to make this appearance. The Chinese people have been suffering from this great epidemic, but there was no clear voice from the Central government saying who is actively managing the overall anti-epidemic effort. Xi, in his meeting with Tedros, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) on January 28, said that he has been in charge all along.

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Source: BBC Chinese, February 11, 2020
https://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/chinese-news-51460567

 

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

Death Count: On February 1, Tencent Reported 24,589 Deaths from Coronavirus

Tencent has been reporting the official numbers related to the novel coronavirus in China. For a long time, China has reported infection cases in the thousands or just ten thousand and death cases in hundreds.

However, on February 1, 2020, Tencent briefly reported a set of unusually high numbers. It reported that 154,023 had been infected and 24,589 had died. Then it adjusted the data back to much smaller numbers. On February 2, Tencent lowered the number back to 14,446 infections and 304 deaths.

It is unclear whether Tencent “accidentally” reported numbers that were accurate or much closer to the truth or the February 1 data was just a mistake.

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