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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

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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Public Opinion: Intellectuals in China Started Raising Their “Five Demands”

The night of February 6, 2020, saw the death of Dr. Li Wenliang, a Wuhan physician who alerted others about novel coronavirus a month ago. He then contracted the virus when working on the front-line treating patients. There was an outcry among intellectuals within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) establishment. They cried out for freedom of speech.

Citizen News, a social diversity advocate news outlet based in Hong Kong, published an open letter signed by leading Chinese intellectuals with five demands:

  1. The Designation of February 6 as National Freedom of Speech Day (Dr. Li Wenliang Day).
  2. Starting now, fully implement the Chinese people’s right to freedom of speech granted by Article 35 of the Constitution.
  3. Starting now, no political forces or state machine should infringe on the Chinese people when they form associations or communicate among each other. The state organs must immediately stop censoring or blocking the content of social media.
  4. Grant equal rights to citizens in Wuhan city and Hubei province, the epicenter of the coronavirus. All coronavirus patients should be able to receive timely, proper, and effective treatment.
  5. Call for the National People’s Congress to convene an emergency assembly to discuss how to protect citizens’ freedom of speech and do not allow any police force to stop the planned meeting (China holds the National People’s Congress in early March every year).

Scholars associated with China’s leading universities, including Renmin University, Peking University, and Tsinghua University, have signed the open letter. South China Morning Post reported on February 12 that hundreds of Chinese, led by academics, have signed the petition.

China’s Human Rights Attorney Association also called for designating February 6 as “National Truth Day.”

On February 7, a “Notice to All Chinese” was sent out from “a group of Tsinghua University Alumni” with five appeals:

  1. Resolutely oppose putting political security above all else; that is the goal of an extremely selfish group.
  2. Resolutely oppose blocking discussion groups and individual accounts on social media.
  3. Resolutely oppose the current maintenance of the stability mentality and practice; oppose treating the people as the enemy.
  4. Resolutely oppose making this disaster a grand party to praise the party; going after the accountability of the officials and the system is a must.
  5. Resolutely oppose going backward; adhere to the abolition of the lifelong term of leaders that Deng Xiaoping started.

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Public Opinion: Mourning for Dr. Li Wenliang

The night of February 6, 2020, saw the death of Dr. Li Wenliang, the Wuhan physician who alerted others about novel coronavirus a month ago and then contracted the virus himself when he was working on the front line treating patients. His death triggered a public mourning and questioning of the communist regime’s policy of obscurantism.

Within Hours of Dr. Li’s death, the head of the Shanghai branch of People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the CCP central committee, wrote a poem that was widely circulated over Chinese social media. His poem read as follows: “We are angered by how your warning was treated as rumor, and how your death was not rumor [the state-run media denied Li Wenliang’s death for a few hours to buy time to squash the popular outcry] … Now, because of not believing your ‘whistle-blowing,’ the whole country has stopped functioning, and your heart has stopped beating. How many more severe prices do we have to pay to let your voice be heard across the oriental world?”

A comment stated, “Xi Jinping and other officials who hid the information about the epidemic should be tried.”

Another comment said, “It is a tragedy that a country only allows one voice. That will lead to disaster as well.”

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Death Count: Wuhan Has Unusually High Level of Sulfur Dioxide Gas

A twitter account Intelwave posted the following:

“Data from http://windy.com shows a massive release of sulfur dioxide gas from the outskirts of Wuhan, commonly associated with the burning of organic matters.

Current SO₂ levels are extremely elevated, at 1700ug/m^3, where 80ug/m^3 is considered dangerously high.

Poster extrapolated from the SO2 release data and estimated 14,000 bodies would have to be burned to reach this level of emissions.”

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Source: Twitter, February 8, 2020

PLA Central Military Commissions Issued “Thirteen Strictly Forbidden” Rules

On February 10, 2020, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Central Military Commission issued new, much stricter regulations on the relationship between the PLA command and the local civil government.

Three departments of the Central Military Commission, including the Political Work Department, the Logistics Support Department, and the Discipline Inspection Commission, jointly issued the “Notice on Strict Regulations on Military-Civil Government Interactions” (“Notice”). The “Notice” listed thirteen “strictly forbidden” items, including:

  • It is strictly forbidden for PLA units to accept visits and donations from local civil units, enterprises, and individuals, in the form of money, marketable securities, and other payment vouchers;
  • It is strictly forbidden for PLA units to accept visits and donations from local civil units and individuals that may affect the execution of PLA official duties;
  • It is strictly forbidden for PLA units to request visits from local civil governments and set standards for their visits or ask them for money or supplies in the name of military-civilian joint construction, job needs, and serving the military officers and soldiers.
  • It is strictly forbidden for PLA units to accept cars that the local civil unit or individuals donate;

There have been commentaries that the PLA did this to prevent the military units and local governments from forming alliances. There have been reports that some local governments defied Beijing’s direction on the fight against the novel coronavirus epidemic. Continue reading

Virus Origin: Chinese Researcher Sentenced for Selling Experimental Animals

A high-profile Chinese researcher was sentenced for corruption and pocketing the gains from selling animals and animal products after lab experiments. This could indirectly strengthen the theory that the novel coronavirus could be leaked from China’s bio lab.

Li Ning, a member of China’s Academy of Engineering and Professor at China’s Agricultural University, and Director of a State Key Laboratory of Agricultural Biotechnology at China Agricultural University, was sentenced on January 3, 2020.

The court verdict stated that, “From July 2008 to February 2012, the defendant Zhang Lei asked defendant Li Ning how to handle the proceeds from the sale of the pigs, cattle, and milk that were no longer needed after the experiments. Li directed those who asked to keep the money for themselves. The sales of the experimental pigs, cattle, and milk totaled 10,179,201.86 yuan (US $ 1.46 million).”

Three witnesses testified that Li had sold the experimental animals and milk. Continue reading

Death Count: (Unconfirmed) Huoshenshan Hospital Has Emptied 200 Rooms Every Day

People are concerned about the accuracy of  the Chinese government’s postings about the death count from the Coronavirus. An unconfirmed self-posting suggested that there could be 400 deaths at the Huoshenshan Hospital every day. The hospital, along with the Leishenshan Hospital, were two high-profile hospitals that Beijing built in Wuhan in 10 days to host the novel coronavirus patients. The  People’s Liberation Army manages the hospitals.

The person (who made the posting) said that he is a doctor at the Huoshenshan Hospital. He made two postings at the 4chan.org website, an anonymous English-language imageboard website. There were grammar errors in his English but Chinascope left his original posting as is. He mentioned that the deaths were not counted as pneumonia death but rather as sudden deaths, and that also the hospital emptied 200 rooms every day (there were two beds per room).

On February 7, 2020, he posted:

“I am a lab technician at Huoshenshan hospital in Wuhan.

The situation is so much worse than you know. Reported death of coronavirus are just those of sudden type, not pneumonic. Daily removes pneumonic patients to not return, whole sections of hospital 200 rooms each and not recorded. They are filled immediately with new pneumonic.

Please know we are trying but there is simply too much.”

After people questioned the validity of the information, the author posted a note on February 8 with “4chan 2020-2-8” in his hand to prove it was true. His posting said: “Is this? I only know little of site, hard to access often.”

[Editor’s Note: The freeing up of rooms is likely due to death. Leishenshan Hospital might have similar death rate. Death count from these two hospitals is likely not part of the corpses collected by funeral houses, as these hospitals are ran by the PLA, outside the civil process.]

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