CP-China is responsible for the coronavirus pandemic
A reconstruction of the events, how the Chinese leadership prevented a timely response to the new pandemic
The doctors, who wanted to warn in December 2019 because they immediately recognized that with Corona a new, deadly epidemic was coming, were muzzled by the CP of China, had to sign the declaration of silence like criminals with fingerprints and were not allowed to inform the media. The CP of China is responsible for thousands of deaths, for the misfortune of so many people who are completely ruined through no fault of their own, for the global chaos and the collapse of the economy. The appearance of the virus was covered up with criminal energy.
Nobody has ever doubted that VW is responsible and must pay for its criminal diesel fraud - except for the VW bosses. China knew what was coming. SARS was known. Neighbouring countries, which had drawn up plans based on their experience with the SARS epidemic in 2003 and which did not cover up the new corona virus, were able to significantly limit its spread. I was at this key moment, in February and March 2020, in India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. There I saw the preparations with my own eyes and also witnessed how the CP of China, with its unspeakable arrogance, considers itself infallible.
Not a single whistleblower at VW and the other diesel fraud companies dared to go public. They all kept quiet in the interest of the car manufacturers' profits. It was different in China. The doctor Li Wenliang had warned early on of the outbreak of the corona virus - he, of all people, died of it.
This article deals only peripherally with the failures of WHO and other countries that have failed to respond adequately. In a report from Berlin on 27 January 2020, for example, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn stated on ARD television that the health risk to the German population from this new virus from China remains low, that there is no cause for unrest and alarmism, although the astonishingly prophetic and detailed Bundestag report of January 2013 on risk analysis in civil protection after SARS, which contains a catalogue of measures for future pandemics, assumes that several million people could die:
"The economic effects cannot be concretely assessed here, but could be immense. Since at least 7.5 million people die in the course of the entire event, the death of a large number of workers must be expected despite the age distribution of the lethality rate. If, for example, four million workers were to die, this would be about ten percent of the total workforce. This loss would be clearly felt in the national economy and would be associated with a severe slump in gross domestic product ...".
The questions are obvious: 1. who is Li Wenliang, 2. what did he find out, 3. when did the first cases appear, 4. how was it covered up and deceived, finally 5. who was and still is responsible for the pandemic. Five simple questions.
"The coronavirus epidemic has exposed the rotten core of the Chinese leadership."
Xu Zhangrun, professor of law at Tsinghua University and author of numerous well-known essays criticizing the leadership of and around Xi Jinping. Online on February 4, 2020, since then Xu has no longer had Internet access, his IP address has been deleted.
1. Who was Li Wenliang?
Li Wenliang was born on October 12, 1986 in Beizhen. He died on Friday, February 7, 2020, thus turning 33 years old. Li left behind a boy, his wife is expecting the second child in July. He studied medicine at the University of Wuhan, then worked in Xiamen in southeast China, a coastal city, and has been at the Central Hospital in Wuhan since 2014. As a member of the Communist Party1 he was not an oppositional, not even a particularly political person, and certainly not a dissident - only the first doctor to warn his professional environment.2 Li was quite active on Weibo [equivalent to Twitter], posting about his life in Wuhan, about food, his travels and occasionally about medical issues.
He gave his last interview to CNN from his bedside on 4 February 2020. "I just wanted to warn my colleagues to be careful."
His mother appeared on the Chinese video channel Pearvideo, describing Li as a child with many skills and talents. "He couldn't lie and did his job with truthfulness." She and her husband were also infected with the virus, but were soon released from hospital. No official visited Li Wenliang while he was dying. When he died, posthumously, the Chinese Communist Party withdrew its reprimand because of his warning about the new virus. The party "solemnly" apologized. This is stated in a statement by the party's disciplinary committee - public pressure had become very strong.
2. What did Li Wenliang find out?
Li Wenliang had pointed out a growing number of mysterious virus cases in Wuhan in an online discussion group of medical doctors and students on December 30, 2019, namely in the closed WeChat group "Wuhan University Clinical 04". Li wrote, "Seven cases of SARS have been confirmed." So it was also clear that there is human to human transmission. In December 2019, he had examined seven patients with a lung disease, all of whom, as the medical history showed, had previously been to the Wuhan fish market.
Li's alarm bells rang immediately. He warned of the return of the SARS virus, which led to a pandemic 17 years ago with 8000 infected and 774 dead. He had previously informed his fellow students orally in order to protect them. One student told how the doctor had warned him and his fellow students that SARS would return. Li and the students had not spread the news via WeChat because it is monitored by the police. They would have passed on the warning verbally. Many doctors would also have been better protected against the virus as a result. "He really saved many people that way."
"One of the most important warning systems in the world when a new deadly disease breaks out is the attention and insight of a doctor or nurse, who then immediately sounds the alarm," said Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, adding, with regard to Li, "It takes intelligence and courage to come forward in such a case, even under the most favorable circumstances."
3. When did the first Corona Falls appear?
We come to the crucial question since when the first infections with Covid-19 are known, who knew about them, who could have known about them and who should have acted. The main source is the "South China Morning Post", founded in 1903 and still the daily newspaper that enjoys the greatest trust among readers in Hong Kong, although it has been part of the Alibaba Group since 2015.
Josephine Ma has been reporting from Beijing for SCMP for more than twenty years. She has witnessed the outbreak of the SARS epidemic, the Tibetan uprising, the flight of the Dalai Lama and the 2008 Olympics, and when you've been on the ground for so long, you have good sources to get material and probably also contributors who want to bring to the public's attention what would not come to light in Chinese media. Josephine Ma reported on 13 March 2020 with an update on 14 March. She was able to see government records that the first Covid19 case was dated November 17, 2019. It was a man from Hubei province [capital Wuhan] at the age of 55 years. This man could not be identified as "Patient Zero". Nevertheless, these documents could help the scientists to trace the traces of the virus more precisely.
The first nine patients in November 2019, four men and five women, were between 39 and 79 years old and none of them were identified as "Patient Zero". How many of them came from Wuhan is unknown. Patient Zero" is still not identified, where the disease spread from animals to humans. In the Süddeutsche Zeitung(German Newspaper) report of April 3, 2020 (in the evening), the storytelling in the headlines continuously pretends that Patient Zero was identified on November 17, 2019. The drama of the presentation builds on this in every subheading. But this is wrong. In the text itself, Lea Deuber from Peking writes, "Patient zero has not yet been found."
By December 15, 2019, 27 viral infections had already been identified.3 Since then, between one and five infections have been added each day, the first double-digit increase was recorded on December 17 - and by December 20, 2019, there were already 60 infections. On December 27, 2019, Zhang Jixian of Hubei Provincial Hospital for Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine notified the authorities that it was a new corona virus. At that time, there were already 180 people in whom the infection was clearly diagnosed - with an unknown number of unreported cases. On December 31, 2019, the number of patients had risen to 266, on January 1, 2020, to 381. The World Health Organization (WHO) was notified of cases of pneumonia of unknown origin on December 31, 2019, and 44 cases from Wuhan on January 3, 2020.
Up to this date, there had been no public announcement of the new epidemic. However, the high number of people affected already allowed clear conclusions to be drawn about how the disease spread and the high rate of transmission. According to the WHO, the first case of Covid-19 in China was dated 8 December 2019. The WHO does not collect its own data, but passes on the data from the reporting countries. As recently as 12 January 2020, the WHO circulated a report from the Chinese health authorities according to which there is no clear indication that the virus is transmitted from person to person. On 21 January 2020, WHO still saw no reason to declare an emergency.
Josephine Mo of the South China Morning Post responds to another source According to it, "The Lancet" reports of doctors from the Jinyitan Hospital in Wuhan after the first infection was treated there on December 1, 2019. Dr. Ai Fen, the first whistleblower, reported to Renwu magazine in an online interview in March 2020, which was immediately deleted, looking back at the crucial days, that the first case of an unknown corona virus was diagnosed at Wuhan Central Hospital on December 16, 2019. She managed the emergency rooms there. On December 27, 2020, another patient with similar symptoms of a lung infection came to her emergency room near the fish market, and one day later five more. She sent the samples to a laboratory and suspected that it was a new virus of the SARS type. After discussing the matter with superiors and other doctors on 30 December 2019, she was summoned before the hospital's disciplinary commission on 1 January 2020 and ordered by the party's representative not to spread any further rumours because it threatened Wuhan's stability.
Apparently, the novel but SARS-like viral disease had appeared simultaneously at several hospitals in the 11 million metropolis of Wuhan. The massive omissions in the first few weeks contributed to the virus becoming a serious threat first in China, with more than 31,000 cases on February 7, 2020. In his interview with the "New York Times" a few days before his death, Li Wenliang had said: "If the authorities had announced the news of the epidemic earlier, everything would have gone much better". Had containment measures been implemented earlier, two-thirds, possibly 95 percent of the infections could have been prevented, according to a study by the University of Southampton.
4. how was the cover-up and deception?
Two days after the private, in-house chat with colleagues and students, Li and other doctors were summoned first to the hospital management and then to the public security office and accused of spreading rumours and disturbing public order. In the minutes of the police admonition it says: "If you insist on your views, refuse to repent and continue the illegal activity, you will be punished by the law. Do you understand?" Li Wenliang had to sign a cease-and-desist declaration "I understand" and mark it red with fingerprints - like a criminal. At the same time, he was sworn to secrecy.
"I understand", Li signed, but violated the obligation of silence and published the declaration he had signed on Weibo. One day after Li and several other doctors were summoned, the state television station CCTV reported, according to China Digital Times, "Some people posted information on the Internet without verification, forwarded the wrong information and caused public disorder. The police reminded each of them that the Internet is not a lawless space. Such acts will not be tolerated."
Much later, in March, the Chinese media reported that the police had apologized to Li's family and that warnings had been issued against two police officers in Wuhan, the station chief and a staff member. Ridiculous pawn sacrifices at the very lowest level.
Threats and intimidation. The Chinese Communist Party feels so strongly that it even reprimanded Daimler-Benz as early as 2018 for quoting the Dalai Lama on Instagram. "Look at a situation from all sides, and you get more open." Doesn't Daimler know, according to the official newspaper of the CP, the "Volkszeitung", that "if you keep your stinking feet on the Dalai Lama, you make an enemy of the Chinese"? I wonder what the Germans would think if a Chinese state corporation praised Adolf Hitler? Daimler cuddled and deleted the Dalai Lama quote from his Instagram account. One regrets "having deeply hurt the feelings of the Chinese people" - with a mail on a network that is blocked by censorship in China and officially not accessible at all.
Several Chinese journalists who had questioned Corona reports of the government have disappeared. For example, 25-year-old Li Zehua. In order to report as an independent journalist from Wuhan, he had quit his job at Chinese state television. In recordings he had secretly recorded impressions from a crematorium, among other things - and discovered that the high level of occupancy there could not correspond to the official Covid 19 death figures. He published his last contributions for the time being on 26 February. Li Zehua filmed himself in his car while he was being pursued by the State Security. Afterwards, he addressed his audience once again in a livestream in his apartment. Since then, there has been no trace of him.
In mid-March 2020, the government in Beijing expelled at least 13 correspondents from the "New York Times", the "Washington Post" and the "Wall Street Journal" at one stroke. Such an occurrence has never been seen before in Chinese history. In China itself, the Internet is censored as always. Terms such as "unknown lung disease", "SARS-like symptoms" or "Wuhan Health Commission" were immediately deleted. One of the institutions that constantly monitor what is particularly close to the heart of censorship in China is the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto.
At the same time, China launched a massive propaganda campaign using truly sophisticated and contemporary means. The cool-looking Nathan Rich presents his corona chronology on YouTube, apparently very scientifically processed. It turns out that all the party committees worked quickly and extremely productively. However, it does not happen that Li Wenliang and the other doctors were threatened and silenced. On his website Natan Rich offers T-shirts in 28 colours and shapes with the imprint: "It's OK to love China."
On January 10, 2020, Li Wenlian told Weibo that he himself had fallen ill and was lying in his hospital. All efforts to save him had been in vain, the Central Hospital of Wuhan reported. A comprehensive rescue attempt had failed. But even around Lis's death there was still an unworthy back and forth: Apparently he died on 7 February 2020 around 9 pm. The authorities are said to have forbidden to report the death. When the news spread nevertheless, it quickly became one of the main topics in the social media. Surprised by the strong public reaction, the system - once again - did what it does best. Censors erased all reports - only to confirm them later officially. Li's death was censored until someone decided that the public should know about it.4 Frank Sieren puts it this way in his report for Deutsche Welle: "Still in the night of Saturday, the state media could not decide whether to announce Li's death or not. For several hours contradictory reports made the rounds. "We know they're lying; they know we know they're lying; and yet they continue to lie," was a much-divided post on Weibo.
Eight participants in the chat group had been summoned, warned and silenced by the police for spreading "rumours". What happened to the other seven besides Li is unknown. A nurse and a journalist, who had documented the situation in the hospital with videos, have disappeared.
As recently as 15 January 2020, the health authority, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, announced that there was no danger to the population or health care workers, the risk of human-to-human transmission was low. On January 18, 2020, the big (Chinese) New Year's party took place in Wuhan, bringing together more than 40,000 families and sharing food, well over 100,000 people. Afterwards, millions from the Wuhan region drove to their families throughout the country for the Chinese New Year celebration. On average, 30,000 people depart from Wuhan Airport every day. On January 19, 2020, a woman in Incheon, South Korea, and a man in the U.S. near Seattle were struck with fever on arrival. Both 35 years old, both returned from Wuhan to their place of residence, both Covid-19 positive, the first cases in these two countries.
It was not until January 23, 2020, days later, that the Chinese government quarantined Wuhan and Hubei Province, with its 60 million inhabitants. Already on January 17, 2020, the Imperial Collage in London questioned the Chinese data, according to which there were 1700 cases. The number of people who have meanwhile tested positive in other countries speaks against this.
On January 24, 2020, when 26 people had already died, "Bild"(German Newspaper) reported on the market in Wuhan, which had been closed since January 1, 2020: "In addition to fish and seafood, there were also exotic animals that would be a culinary imposition for Europeans, but for the Chinese they were a real treat: The South China Morning Post reports that not only snakes, rats, crocodiles, salamanders and porcupines were sold there, but also wolf cubs, peacocks and koala bears. 112 species of such wild animals are said to have been on sale there. They were sold alive to customers or offered for sale freshly slaughtered." Those who are sceptical about "Bild" can also consult the FAZ of February 7th, 2020 as a source: "Live wolf cubs, peacocks and larval rollers, a species of sneaky cat, were on offer from the dealer. Also foxes, giant salamanders and crocodile meat. So it was on the price board of a sales stand called Dazhong until New Year's Day. Evidence of links between the diseases and this market can also be found in "The Lancet" of 24 January 2020.
Two weeks later I was myself in the Mekong Delta at such a market. When I realized what was offered there, I hurried away. I can't confirm in detail what strange animals were lying there, but in principle I saw exactly what I know from the photos of the market in Wuhan.
Since the market in Wuhan had already been closed on January 1, 2020, one must assume that the authorities knew about it. The authorities destroyed all animals sold there. This made a further investigation almost impossible. Li's chat group wanted to report their findings through the proper official channels, which had to be followed as a result of the SARS epidemic. However, this was not possible because there was no confirmation from the health authority, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The doctors might have had to wait days for this. After their attempt to warn people via chat groups and by passing on information personally, they were forbidden to go public in any form. Josephine Ma also reported this in the "South China Morning Post". The party's "solemn apology" to Li Wenliang had been relativized by simultaneously accusing him of not following the intended path.
The Communist Party's frenzy of control is above all in China. The dissemination of all information is monitored, whether orally or - even more easily - on the Internet. Under President Xi Jinping, the security hysteria of party and state is taking on completely new dimensions. Fear has returned under his rule - "The reinvention of the dictatorship".5
Nis Grünberg of the Mercator Institute reported in the "Tagesspiegel" of 23 February 2020 on how it came to be that information about the new virus was available early but was not passed on. The Mercator Institute for China Studies is a leading German think tank and the largest European think tank with an exclusive focus on China. The non-profit organization was founded in 2013 by Stiftung Mercator, one of the largest private foundations in Germany.
In the case of the coronavirus, it is quite clear that the information was passed on early - just not to the public. The China expert Grünberg confirms that China has a reporting system that requires doctors to report cases such as coronavirus infections to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But a transfer outside the official channels is not planned and must be approved by Beijing, said Nis Grünberg. Everything went according to plan: the doctors reported, the censorship authority suppressed the truth about the life-threatening situation.
Party officials or officials at local level suppressed the information. In difficult situations Chinese officials downstairs prefer to wait for instructions from above. It is clear: after the SARS epidemic in 2003 the mandatory reporting system was introduced. Doctors must use it to record new infections. If there is an increased incidence of disease in one place, the local authorities are informed and the national health commission takes over the public announcement of the outbreak - or not.
Health authorities at local and regional level were informed at the end of December 2019, as were central authorities and the media. With the knowledge of the SARS epidemic, the importance was clear to everyone. But every important decision in China is made by party officials - not experts. The corona virus spread solely because the party suppressed the information. It has almost absolute power over the media and the Internet.
According to Chinese party media, Xi Jinping was informed at the latest at a meeting of the Politburo on 7 January 2020. First 13 days later the public was warned, he made his first statement on January 20.
5. who was and still is responsible for the pandemic?
Two Chinese intellectuals have sharply criticized the criminal information policy of the Communist Party via international media. The regime critics Xu Zhangrun and Xu Zhiyong each independently published an article on Beijing's responsibility. Xu Zhiyong (1973) has been held in an unknown location since 15 February 2020 and has no access to a lawyer. He is threatened with 15 years in prison because of his criticism. He has already served a prison sentence once. Xu Zhangrun (1962) writes about his very detailed article in "chinafile" on 10 February 2020 that he is aware that it could be his last. A short excerpt:
The cause of all this [the Corona pandemic] is ultimately down to Xi Jinping and the people [the cabal] surrounding him. It all began with strict bans on informing about the virus ... The bureaucrats throughout the system deliberately laid off responsibility for the developing crisis and continued to wait for permission from their superiors. They watched cheerfully as the crucial window of opportunity to deal with the outbreak collapsed before them... Our system is a system in which the highest arbiter, the highest authority [定於一尊, The Ultimate Arbiter, a term from the imperial age used by the state media to describe Xi Jinping] monopolizes all effective power ... This has fostered a political culture that is ethically bankrupt in terms of the actual public good, because it is a culture that seeks to secure its privatized party state, or what they call its "mountains and rivers", while leaving the people over whom it has power at the mercy of the vicissitudes of a cruel fate. It is a system that turns every natural disaster into an even greater man-made disaster. The coronavirus epidemic has revealed the rotten core of the Chinese leadership; the fragile and empty heart of the trembling state building has thus been shown to be more fragile and empty than ever before.
Tsinghua University in Beijing banned its professor of law Xu Zhangrun from teaching, writing or publishing in March 2019. He did not bend. After this last article he was shut off the internet. This also shows that the responsibility for the rapid spread of the virus lies with the Communist Party. "Slaughter the chicken to scare the monkey." Everyone should learn that anyone who criticizes is being shut down.
Now, when according to official statements the number of new infections in China is supposed to decrease, the Communist Party is taking its cynical behavior to extremes and staging itself as the savior. According to the Global Times, the Chinese leadership's propaganda paper for foreign countries, an economist accuses Western countries and governments of not getting anything done: "If the Chinese model had been adopted earlier, the infections could now be under control. Propaganda for the totalitarian state, distraction from the perpetrators. The fact is that a functioning, democratic civil society is the most effective way to deal with most threats. In a free society with free people and free media, there would have been no such initial uncontrolled spread of the pandemic.
It should be the legitimate concern of all countries to hold China to account. The polluter pays principle is not tied to any social system or historical period. It is universal, a supranational right. Anyone who puts human lives at risk through his behaviour and brings so much misery to the world has to bear the consequences. The bill goes to China.
This article is a translation from the German article published in Telepolis on 6 April 2020.