China is Trying Desperately to Paint Themselves as the Hero of the Crisis They Created. Why?
As I begin typing this on 10 Mar, 2020, at 14:32 US Central Time (GMT -6), Johns Hopkins University reports there have been 107,897 confirmed cases (27,198 outside of Mainland China, this plague's source): 3,658 have died, 60,660 have recovered.
Despite rumors that I have been stuck in a magic lamp and buried, I am in fact alive and well. The reason for my extended absence is that I have been working on a book outlining the horror of my life in China, and as such, my blog has gone somewhat neglected. Given that this, of all times, is when those of us who know something about China need to be speaking out, I regret that somewhat, but as long as Serpentza and Laowhy86 are on the job, at least the alarm is being sounded.
But now, I am back to sound it here on Steemit.
After becoming "old news" for a while, the Novel Coronavirus Covid-19 (or nCoV-19, or as it was formerly known) has catapulted back into the news in recent weeks, and the primary reason is because it is no longer merely a Chinese problem. With Italy, South Korea and Iran all three experiencing "super-spreader" incidents and not only confirmed cases but confirmed Human-to-Human transmissions in 103 countries on every continent except Antarctica, it is safe to say the virus is out of control.
And yet, the news coming out of China itself has been almost uniformly positive. "One of the largest makeshift hospitals in #Wuhan has ceased operation on Sun. The temporary hospital admitted 1,760 #COVID19 patients during the past month and it has officially closed as the remaining 84 patients have been transferred on Sat," trumpet's a post on the Facebook page of China's State
propaganda 'news' source, People's Daily. Another post on the same page claims the virus in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, is "basically cured." This same page boasts almost daily about how China's campaign against the virus has been a world-shattering success, resulting in daily reductions in the number of new cases. State-media giant Xinhua even went so far as to claim the world owes China a thank you (Zhang).
Read that again.
China is the source of Covid-19 (though they are already trying to re-write history and say it came from the US (China Declassified).
China caused Covid-19, whether it is a bioweapon created in the Wuhan lab (as I remain convinced (Gertz)), or a recombinant virus caused by strains of the virus that never should have been close together infecting the same host in an illegal wildlife market as the Chinese authorities claim (Wang, Ji, Zhao, Zai & Li). If it is the former, China caused it through malice. If it is the latter, China caused it by third-world incompetence and spread it to Humans through deplorable hygiene.
China sent the virus global by refusing to acknowledge its existence and lying about the contagion of it because they did not want to stop their barbaric tourists from going on vacation, thus guaranteeing it would be spread all over their country and beyond.
And now, the country that made the mess from scratch thinks the world owes them a thank you for their token efforts to fight it. And the Fifty-Cent Party is laying it on thicker than usual, not even bothering to be subtle in their "all mere laowai should lie adoringly at the feet of 'Great China' " garbage, even going so far as to claim it is Italy's fault that the virus has gone global (ADV Podcasts).
I guess "Cassie Cassandra (and seriously, these Chinese propagandists need to come up with more convincing cover identities because this sounds like a second-tier villain from Carmen Sandiego)" wasn't informed that this "aid" to Italy was not a gift from China but was bought and paid for (Yue).
Well, this narrative of "China the Great, leading the world's fight against Coronavirus" suffers from the same critical flaw that most of China's other propaganda suffers from. Say it with me now...
...It's Absolute Bullshit.
First of all, there are the legions and legions of whistleblowers inside China who are pointing out the fact that the number of cases they have witnessed with their own eyes exceeds the number being reported in most provinces (Krawczyk). Certainly, the people of Wuhan have not seemed fond of Xi's response (Nakazawa). And indeed, most of the world has acknowledged at this point that China is underreporting the coronavirus outbreak.
Yet, for those who have not, today I will show how China has attempted to dress up the narrative, and why this narrative cannot be believed.
And more importantly, I will show why China has dressed up the narrative.
First, there is the government's narrative about the conditions inside Wuhan. Chinese media was eager to show footage of the strength, determination and (above all) patriotism of the Wuhan population, all of whom were, of course, completely certain that their beloved authorities would save them in due time (South China Morning Post via Youtube). The video shows residents shouting "Wuhan jiayou (Stay Strong, Wuhan)" at each other out of their windows, and entire neighborhoods singing Chinese patriotic songs from their balconies together to keep each other encouraged. Of course, there are some problems with the video's believability, as one Youtube commenter pointed out:
Let's do some basic physics here. One man shouts, and replies from windows at various distances are heard in unison with no sound-travel delay. Does that sound realistic to you?
Also, despite being surrounded by monolithic, concrete buildings, there is no echo. Does tat sound realistic to you?
Perhaps this is the reason why the video was papered over with background music: to cover up the fact that the soundtrack is completely fake.
The unaltered, unedited video of this scene, recognizable as such by the echoes and the fact that the noise can be hear from inside even before opening the balcony door, shows a setting far less inspiring and infinitely more nightmarishly surreal (Cave Talk). Interestingly enough, I have been unable to pick out anything recognizable as "Wuhan Jiayou" amid the bestial, Hellish cacophony of suffering people imprisoned in their homes.
In short, China is trying to say "no, no, they're not screaming for help. They're defiantly showing the world how sure they are that 'the Mighty China,' with the leadership of the Party, is assured of victory."
Then there are China's baffling statistics about the case numbers themselves.
Take a look at the spike on 12 February. This was where China changed their criteria for diagnosing someone (Tan & Ellyat). Prior to that, only a confirmed test was considered a confirmed diagnosis. That day, a change was ordered by the Central Government, saying "clinical diagnoses," meaning any diagnosis where the patient showed all the symptoms and had been in the impacted area, was considered a confirmed case. Conveniently enough, this was the very day that new officials in charge of Wuhan came to office to replace the scapegoats fired by the Central Government for the sin of following the Central Government's orders to cover up the outbreak. It was a classic example of the Chinese tactic of "now that you are in power, give the worst possible report to show how bad your predecessor was and how much they covered up."
It's interesting to note, this change ONLY took place in Hubei Province. Other provinces stuck to previous guidelines on which cases to report (whose veracity was already somewhat suspect (Zhang Xianyi)).
Of course, a scant few days later, the order came down from on high that this was to cease, presumably because it did not fit the Party's "we have everything under control" narrative (Guzman). After that point, China went back to only counting confirmed tests as confirmed cases (Chinese National Health Commission). It even came to light that China was removing cases previously considered "confirmed" from their count, making it virtually impossible to trust their data. Of course, when they realized this was costing them face, they changed their criteria AGAIN, saying "okay, clinical diagnoses from 12 February until now will be considered valid, but never before or after that period (Bloomberg)." What few members of the scientific community had not lost faith in China's ability to tell anything that even vaguely resembled the truth, lost it at that point (Schumaker). “I’m very suspicious about anything they’re saying,” Said Ralph Baric, a University of North Carolina expert on the coronavirus family, pointing to the low numbers China is reporting from other provinces in the country. “The math says there should be a lot more cases (Branswell).”
However, there was another reason for the timing of these changes. The decision to suddenly broaden the definition of a "confirmed case," as I mentioned was a decision that only occurred in Hubei Province (Feuer), for what I suspect were the reasons stated above. The sudden decision to reverse this, came on 21 Feb. We must ask ourselves, what happened on 21 February to give China a sudden incentive to push the narrative that victory was not "imminent" but in fact had already happened? Let's look at the numbers.
Bingo. On 19 February, South Korea announced a "super spreader" incident at a church in Daegu (Chang). Notice in the graph above (which uses data provided by Johns Hopkins University's Covid-19 tracker) how the number of "new" cases China
admitted to discovered, immediately started to decline each day after that.
My, how convenient.
Here was when the propaganda machine switched into overdrive (Hamid, Kuni). China insisted they were nearing victory over the virus, a line which not even the Chinese believed (Wang Xiangwei). The number of drippingly sycophantic reports of praise for the Party, complete with line after line of recovered patients, began flying fast and furious. People's Daily began to boast of how the makeshift hospitals were finally closing, showing that the crisis was supposedly past. The Chinese government even went so far as to call for a campaign to "educate" the population of Wuhan on how thankful they should be to Xi Jinping (Katsuji, WestPHSea Staff). I'm very curious what Xi did that he thought he deserved a "thank you" for, not only considering the regime's botched response (Mendis & Wang; Geraghty), but also considering that Xi Jinping was afraid to even touch the Coronavirus case. Recall that when he was not assured that it would go well, he passed the ball to his rival, Premier Li Keqiang., while he disappeared from public view for weeks (Huang).
Of course, the "recoveries" became one of the most obvious lies as the number of "recovered" patients released from China's hospitals started dying as soon as their "praise China" photos were finished (P. Zhang; Choy & Ng; Li, Huang & Han; Farber; Chen & Woo; Stanway & Kelland).
And then, after the world started to question whether it was wise for China to release these patients who seemed less and less "cured" with each passing day, there was the highly suspicious collapse of a hotel used as a quarantine center in Fujian (right across the Formosa strait from Taiwan), leaving 10 dead and dozens missing (BBC Staff). Now, I'm not going to accuse the government that slaughtered its own civilians en masse at Tiananmen Square, then killed Liu Xiaobo to silence him, and is infamous for causing anyone who speaks agaisnt them to "disappear," of destroying this building full of patients and killing everyone inside, but...
...Who am I kidding? Yes I am. We're talking about a regime that has already been caught cremating patients alive (NTD) in order to avoid reporting infections.
To review, China waited until the outbreak spread to other countries and then began insisting they had beaten it within their borders, going so far as to release uncured patients and then destroy a quarantine center full of other patients, for the purpose of bolstering their image as a "leader" in the fight against the pandemic they caused. It makes one ask, "why? What is the goal here? Surely they realize that this is going to result in having an even greater outbreak in their own country, right?"
To those of us who have dealt with China, the answer is "yes, and that is exactly their goal. They want the scale to become known, after they have managed to shift the blame for it off of themselves." The steps were simple.
- Cover up the scale of the viral outbreak.
- Guarantee that the virus would spread internationally.
- Draw the Chinese public's attention to the scale of the outbreak overseas, and brag about what a better job the Party did (still hiding the true scope).
- Manipulate data to claim the virus has been defeated in China, while it begins rampaging abroad.
- MOST IMPORTANT: Find a handful of cases imported from overseas. Then begin gradually disclosing the real scope of the damage done in China, and claim "we had it beat, until these evil foreigners brought it back in."
Well, in the words of Ian Malcolm...
Boy, Do I Hate Being Right All the Time
I've been predicting this last one for weeks (Harris), as have others who are familiar with China (U T-L). And I wish I could say I was surprised when that is exactly what happened. Less than 24 hours ago as I write this paragraph, one of Beijing's pet "experts" on this virus, warned of the dangers of an epidemic of "imported cases (You)." And as SerpentZA shrewdly pointed out in his latest Youtube video, this anti-foreign sentiment has a history of turning violent in China, and the government encourages this because as long as the ignorant masses of the Zhonghua Minzu are focussed on being violent to foreigners, they're less likely to turn violent against their government. Not only was there the beating of a man for driving a Japanese car in Xi'an in 2012 (Demick), but there was also the wave of violence against Americans and Canadians when Canada had the audacity to actually arrest Chinese Spy Princess Meng Wanzhou for espionage (the nerve!), and frankly this trend of goes all the way back to the Boxer Rebellion.
And this is what the Party is doing now. They realize they cannot contain the virus forever, so they have opted to contain information about it until it has become a crisis overseas, then do what they have always done: rewrite history by filling their propaganda outlets with "look how safe you are here and look how bad the rest of the world is" drivel, while thumping their chests about how they "saved China" from a virus and even "led the world in the fight against the virus," but then "evil foreigners" brought it back in. The Party has even commissioned authors who are Party members, to write a book praising the Party's response, and publish it through Party-owned publishers (Xinhua). The fact that it was a litany of Chinese screw-ups, in response to a situation that could not have arisen anywhere other than China in the first ignorant place, is gloriously absent from mention, anywhere in the book.
And now that I think of it, so is any mention of Dr. Li Wenliang.
Gee... I can't imagine why.
As I begin typing this on 23 Mar, 2020, at 21:04 US Central Time (GMT -6), Johns Hopkins University reports there have been 378,679 confirmed cases (297,1728 outside of Mainland China, this plague's source): 16,508 have died, 100,985 have recovered.
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