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One Hoggish Mishandling, A Global Catastrophe


Introduction
 
This article is the English summary of an in-depth analysis of published information about the Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. It is an attempt to provide a glimpse of what actually happened in China and how that led to the global catastrophe in the 46 days from December 8, 2019 to January 23, 2020. It concludes by sharing some observations on the lessons learned.
 
CHING Cheong, author of the 3-part analysis originally written in Chinese, is a veteran journalist and commentator specializing in China issues. He traced how China's hoggish mishandling of the new Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan has escalated into a pandemic that brought the world to a standstill. His sources include government policy papers, published journals and media reports, among which is an investigative report by Caixin.com [1].
 
The translation, summarizing and rewriting are done by the translation team of the Canadian Friends of Hong Kong.
 
The world has paid a hefty price and is still paying it with no end in sight, for the failure of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to nip the potential pandemic in the bud in December 2019. 
 
Today, about three months after the Coronavirus outbreak, the CCP propaganda machine is spewing two messages. First, "China has been successful in her efforts to contain the outbreak." There is not a word on how the CCP has failed to contain it beyond control in the first place. Second, "the origin of the Coronavirus is not known." It conceals that fact that the virus originated from China and how it spread to the world. A more ludicrous version of the second message even suggests that the Coronavirus originated in the U.S [2]
 
In order to refute the CCP's propaganda messages, this article focuses on how the Beijing authority concealed the fact about the outbreak from December 8, 2019, the day when the first case of Coronavirus was confirmed, to the day when the city of Wuhan was locked down, which is January 23, 2020. The analysis shows that the CCP has covered up the virus infection and its spread for over six weeks (46 days), missing the window of opportunity to contain the outbreak. It provides evidence that the CCP regime in Beijing has allowed the virus to rampage through China and then to the other parts of the globe. The world is now in an irrevocable plight.

Beijing knew the truth early on but concealed it

The local authority of Wuhan had reported the virus situation to the Beijing authority at the end of December 2019. Therefore, the responsibility of covering up should be borne by the CCP leaders in Beijing, not the local officials.
 
According to available evidence, even before the whistle blowing on December 30 by Dr. LI Wenliang [3] and his colleagues, Beijing had known about an unprecedented epidemic spreading in Wuhan. In late December, at least nine samples of inexplicable cases of Coronavirus disease resembling SARS had been reported to the National Health Commission (NHC), a cabinet-level executive department under the State Council, which is responsible for formulating health policies in China. On December 31 [4], an expert team of NHC arrived at Wuhan to look into the situation about this unknown virus [5].  Therefore, there is no way that the CCP can claim that Beijing was unaware or not informed of the Coronavirus outbreak.
 
However, after the investigation team has arrived in Wuhan, the next day, on January 1, 2020, the NHC stipulated that all relevant tests about the Coronavirus be cancelled and the findings from previous tests be destroyed.  Most alarming is that Beijing chose to hide the outbreak from the public and ordered that any existing evidence of the virus be eliminated.  
 
Two days later, on January 3, the CCP further stipulated that all information regarding the epidemic be kept confidential. According to Caixin.com, the NHC stipulated this policy by issuing a policy document entitled "On strengthening the management of biological sample resources and related scientific research activities in the prevention and control of major infectious diseases" (i.e. Document No. 3).
 
On January 5, the laboratory of Fudan University's Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre succeeded in sequencing the entire genome of the then-unknown Coronavirus. The Centre reported the finding to NHC immediately. According to a report by South China Morning Post, the laboratory was ordered close for "rectification" on January 12, a day after the research team published the genome sequence on an open platform [6].
 
Also, on January 12, the NHC reported China's coronavirus outbreak to the World Health Organization, which named the virus Covid-19, but even then, Beijing still kept the public in the dark. The public was told that no further new cases had been reported in Wuhan and there was no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.
 
Then notices from the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission [7] on January 11 started to say that the count of confirmed infected cases remained the same. The notices repeatedly said that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission.
 
Under the delusion that the Coronavirus has been under control, over 40,000 Wuhan families gathered round in a huge banquet on January 18 to celebrate the coming of the Lunar New Year [8]. The community transmission escalated.
 
Then five days later on January 23, two days before the festive Lunar New Year, over 11 million people in the City of Wuhan were abruptly and brutally locked down. 
 
According to ZHONG Nanshan, China's lead expert on SARS, the lockdown was too late. Had the lockdown taken effect five days earlier on January 18, the number of cases would not have quadrupled from about 20,000 to about 80,000 (as of March 12) and still rising.
 
Why did Beijing take all these actions to halt the progress in containing the epidemic and to lie about its outbreak? There is reason to suggest that the CCP was trying to avoid any social unrest, which might shake up its power base.

Beijing punished whistle blowers

Whistle blowers of the Coronavirus outbreak have been severely criticized, accused of "spreading rumours" and subsequently "punished according to law."
 
Beijing has also silenced China's scientists by prohibiting them from publishing any research on the Coronavirus in international journals. In a notice issued on January 29, the Ministry of Science and Technology requested that all key scientific research units publish their findings inside China only and, before the epidemic is contained, they should not waste their energy in overseas publications. 
 
It was estimated that by January 30, five articles on the new Coronavirus had been published in The Lancetand two in The New England Journal of Medicine. Also, the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre of Fudan University submitted their report on the epidemic to NHC on January 5 and recommended ways to contain it. By January 11, not having heard back from NHC, the Shanghai team had no choice but to publish their findings — the world's first new Coronavirus whole genome sequence, on the website virologic.org.  These publications consist of important findings, which could have been used to contain the epidemic.  However, such efforts were halted and their voices muted. Unfortunately, their findings have not been made available to readers in China in time to stop the Coronavirus outbreak. 

Absurd CCP Strategy

According to evidence provided by MENG Xin, a researcher with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing's strategy to cope with the Coronavirus is politics first, stability second, science third.
 
"Politics first" aims to secure the CCP rule.  "Stability second" means to try all measures to stop those impacted by the epidemic from speaking out so as to maintain stability.  The virus victims, their families and the medical professionals must not come out and cause trouble to the officials or cause the CCP to lose face. "Science third" is to use science to serve politics and to maintain stability. Subsequently, the severity of the epidemic has been grossly under-reported in one way or another in order to conform to the party line, resulting in misinformation, pseudo-science and a dreadful catastrophe. 
 
Even the origin and the source of the Coronavirus can be twisted and modified from time to time to serve the political purpose of the CCP. For example, the source was at one point said to be from infected wild animals escaped from the market, whereas at another time it was said to be from the leak of a tier 4 state laboratory.  In other words, science revolves around the needs of the CCP. Fake science and fake news will be inevitable where truth is forbidden.

Lessons learned

The most significant lesson is the crucial role of free flow and access of information in a society. Some people argue that universal values like freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law are too abstract and they are not the must-haves for the Chinese people.  It is clear now that any disrespect for these values can lead to havocs at huge scales. For the sake of holding onto power, the CCP has established a brutal "stability mechanism," which is backed by the iron fists of the regime, and all voices and actions - even well-intentioned advice or criticism - that are not considered to be in line with the interests of the CCP will be crushed.
 
To the international community, this turn of events has illustrated how one hoggish mishandling of a crisis by a dictatorial regime could damage the entire human world beyond imagination. The Coronavirus crisis further sheds light on the nature of the CCPregime in Beijing. It is a regime that cares about nothing but only its interests and power. It lies and let people die. It conceals the truth about the outbreak, and suppresses those who dare to tell the truth. It spreads disinformation around the world and tries to rewrite the current events as we are living through it. The CCP has not only posed serious challenges to our democracy and the rule of law, but also pose an existential threat to the rights and well-being of people worldwide.
 
-End-
 
For the 3-part original Chinese article in full, go to: 
 
中共錯誤,禍延全球(上)
 
中共錯誤,禍延全球(中)
 
中共錯誤,禍延全球(下)

Footnotes:
[1] Caixin.com is a major Beijing-based financial news online publication. The source report in Caixin.com has since been removed but was later captured on https://archive.li/YylMt.

[2] CNN:Chinese diplomat promotes conspiracy theory that US military brought coronavirus to Wuhan

[3] NYT:Chinese Doctor, Silenced After Warning of Outbreak, Dies From Coronavirus

[4] The Dec 31, 2019 NHC expert team was not mentioned in the Caixin report. See footnote 5 for the source.

[5] Reuters:Chinese officials investigate cause of pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan

[6] Chinese laboratory that first shared coronavirus genome with world ordered to close for 'rectification', hindering its Covid-19 research 

[7] AAAS:Wuhan seafood market may not be source of novel virus spreading globally 

[8] Xinhuanet:Over 40,000 families gather in community to greet China's Xiaonian


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