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CCP’s Mouthpiece Media Cared More about Party Event Than Wuhan Epidemic

Voice of America reported that the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) main media covered quite a lot about the party event on celebrating the Chinese New Year, while it paid very little attention to the Wuhan lockdown and the coronavirus epidemic. On January 24, the first day that the Chinese media took the time to report on the Wuhan lockdown, the front page of People’s Daily didn’t mention Wuhan or the epidemic at all. Instead it covered the CCP Central Committee’s celebration of the Chinese New Year and Xi Jinping’s speech at the celebration. Xi didn’t mention Wuhan in his speech either. Neither did the second and third pages mention Wuhan.

The fourth page had an article about the epidemic on the lower part of the page. The main point was, “From the CCP Central to the local area, from the medical staff to the general public, with the common goal of conquering the epidemic, people have formed a strong force to prevent and control it.” It also said that there are plenty of supplies, food, and medical materials for Wuhan. It didn’t mention the number of infected cases, the latest developments in the epidemic, or what measures the government plans to take to control the epidemic.

Guangming Daily, another party mouthpiece, Economic Daily (under the State Council) and PLA Daily all had a similar focus in their reporting. Wuhan was only mentioned on a not-so-important page.

Unlike the communist media, the Western media have maintained a main focus on the Wuhan lockdown and on the epidemic. On January 23, the Wall Street Journal had a Wuhan epidemic image in the center of its front page, with the title, “China Locks Down City of 11 Million Where the Virus Originated.” The New York Times had, “China Closes off City at the Center of Virus Outbreak” on its front page. Financial Times also gave the news a significant focus. On January 24, Financial Times, the Washington Post, and the New York Times put the epidemic on their front pages.

Hu Ping, a Chinese political commentator said this shows that the media outside of China truly cares about Wuhan and its people.

Xi Jinping gave an important direction on January 20 regarding the epidemic: “(We) must strengthen the guidance of public opinion, strengthen the spreading and explanation of relevant policies and measures, and resolutely maintain the stability of society to ensure people remain calm and peaceful during the Chinese New Year holidays.”

Source: Voice of America, January 25, 2020
https://www.voachinese.com/a/wuhan-coronavirus-party-newspaper-20200124/5259482.html

Chinese Public Hurls Anger at Hubei Officials

Hubei Province, the province where the epidemic is most severe, held a press conference on January 26. Governor Wang Xiaodong, the Wuhan city mayor Zhou Xianwang, and other officials spoke at the conference. A series of mistakes they made at the press conference angered many Chinese netizens.

Governor Wang Xiaodong didn’t wear a mask at the press conference. This was a violation of Wuhan’s regulation that wearing a mask in a public area was compulsory. Netizens also pointed out that the Wuhan mayor, Zhou Xianwang, wore his mask incorrectly. It was inside out. People were critical of the mayor. If the mayor does not know how to wear a mask, “how could ordinary people know?” Some even called these officials “incompetent and irresponsible politicians.”

In China, criticisms of politicians are often quickly removed from cyberspace, but this time the speed of angry comments from the people even exceeded the speed of the online censorship. One online post criticizing the press conference received more than 680 million views on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform.

Netizens also focused on the inaccuracies in governor Wang’s speech. When referring to the annual output of masks in Hubei Province, he repeatedly revised the data first from 10.8 billion to 1.8 billion and then he reduced it to 1.08 million. One netizen was puzzled, “As the governor, how can you not know how many masks Hubei produces?”

Hubei Province is the epicenter of the outbreak. Wuhan pneumonia has reportedly killed at least 81 people and infected more than 2,700 people worldwide, including in the United States, Australia and Taiwan.

Source: Central News Agency, January 28, 2020
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/202001280006.aspx

The First Confucius Institute in the U.S. Will Close

The University of Maryland announced that it will close its Confucius Institute when the 2019-2020 school year is over. The university’s President Wallace Loh stated that this decision was due to a Federal law. The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requires that the Department of Defense stop funding the Chinese Flagship Program at U.S. colleges that have Confucius Institutes, unless they receive an exemption.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Maryland was established in 2004. It is the first one in the United States. Confucius Institutes have received many criticisms for spreading the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) ideology and political control throughout the hosting country.

The University of Missouri also announced that it will close its Confucius Institute in August.

Source: Epoch Times, January 18, 2020
http://www.epochtimes.com/gb/20/1/18/n11803287.htm

RFA: Muslims in Xinjiang Are Forced to Drink Alcohol

The Islam doctrine prohibits Muslims from smoking and drinking. However, as part of their efforts to get them to leave the Islam religion, some local governments in the Yili region of Xinjiang have tried to make the Muslims smoke and drink.

The communist authorities target people who do not drink and beat them or arrest them. However, when they see a Muslim drink, they also provide encouragement. Because of the government’s position of supporting drinking, the police will let those who drive under the influence of alcohol go without any punishment.

“In their eyes, whoever drinks is a good person.” Serkjan, the founder of a human rights organization in Kazakhstan said, “People who do not drink or smoke are those who have religious beliefs and must be arrested. The police do not dare to arrest those who are drunk, even if they are creating trouble.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, January 17, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/shaoshuminzu/ql2-01172020104835.html

Six Deaths among 323 Wuhan Coronavirus Cases in 13 Chinese Provinces

The number of confirmed cases in China of the Wuhan pneumonia has exceeded 300. According to China’s official media, as of 7:00 am on January 22, a total of 323 cases of the Wuhan pneumonia had been diagnosed in mainland China, spreading over 13 provinces. There have been six deaths,

The distribution of the pneumonia patients infected with the new coronavirus is as follows: 270 cases in Hubei Province, the origin of the outbreak, 10 in Beijing, 17 in Guangdong, six in Shanghai, five in Zhejiang, one in Yunnan, two in Sichuan, two in Tianjin, one in Henan, five in Chongqing, one in Shandong, one in Hunan, and two in Jiangxi. Most patients have a history of having traveled to Wuhan city in Hubei province. As of 2:40 am on January 22, Hubei Province launched a secondary emergency response mechanism for public health emergencies, requiring strict implementation of isolation measures and strengthened prevention and control over the region.

After a visit to the city of Wuhan to investigate the epidemic on December 31 last year, Wang Guangfa, a member of China’s National Health Committee and the chief physician at Peking University First Hospital, was confirmed, on January 21, as having been infected with the Wuhan pneumonia. So far a total of 14 medical staff members have also been infected.

Source: Central News Agency, January 22, 2020
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/firstnews/202001220019.aspx

Unknown Severe Pneumonia Case Showed up in Shenzhen

Recently, after the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei Province, Shenzhen also  found a case of severe pneumonia of unknown origin. The government announced on Sunday (January 12) that the possibility of SARS and a coronavirus infection have been ruled out. However, due to the authorities’ manner of epidemiological investigation, coupled with the opaqueness of government information, the people’s distrust has continued to spread.

A hospital in Shenzhen issued a notice Sunday about a 41-year-old female patient who is of Indian nationality and teaches at a local international school. The notice stated that, after Shenzhen did some testing, CDC, influenza, bird flu, SARS, Middle East respiratory syndrome, and the new coronavirus that was recently discovered in Wuhan have been ruled out.

To this end, Radio Free Asia called the hospital in question, but the doctor declined to be interviewed on the grounds that the situation was unclear. The local district health bureau in Shenzhen said that the above-mentioned pathogens have been ruled out, but it did not say that it was a new type of pneumonia; it was just a case of severe pneumonia. At present, the pathogen of this severe pneumonia case does not have a clear target, so it is not possible to sequence the pathogen genetically. The only conclusion is that it is a severe pulmonary infection. The official also said that, due to the rapid development of the disease, screening was performed for several known conditions. He was not sure that they belonged to a specific disease.

In order to achieve social control, the Chinese government controls important information releases, including any animal epidemic disclosures. Thus this has, by law, been classified as a state secret. Based on the logic of maintaining stability, concealment of information about the epidemic has become the norm. The government’s concealment of the SARS epidemic in 2003 led to catastrophic consequences.

Source: Radio Free Asia, January 13, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/cn-shenzhen-01132020101348.html