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Let’s Admit It, Coronavirus is “Made in China,” Says Australian Editor

He also warned about another possible outbreak if the country continues with the same mistakes.

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  • A Sydney Morning Herald editor wrote a sequel of his editorial “Chinese Virus Pandamonium, telling the world to admit the fact that coronavirus was made by China.
  • The newspaper’s previous editorial earned ire from the Chinese government, describing it as “racist”.
  • Peter Hartcher, the editor, also warned of another possible outbreak in the future, if China continues covering-up or censoring the truth.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) started infecting Chinese citizens in the city of Wuhan back in December 2019. It took the government more than two weeks before they officially disclosed information about the disease. In a short period of time, the virus started to scatter throughout China and now we have confirmed cases in many countries.

Why did China report the virus a little too late? or why was there an obvious lack of action from President Xi Jinping?

The Sydney Morning Herald Political and International editor Peter Hartcher wrote a strongly worded editorial, pointing out that it was because Xi not only wanted to “control (his) own people, but also to manage foreign governments”.

When the first case of coronavirus happened in Wuhan, the government of China allegedly instructed all local hospitals to report “zero infections”. Due to that instruction, hospitals rejected patients, sending them home and eventually infecting other people. Worse, some of them were just left to die.

In his conversation with Australian virologist John Mackenzie, Hartcher enumerated the censorship strategy of Xi’s leadership during the coronavirus crisis.

Only good news were permitted.

Apparently, Xi, through his central propaganda team, dispatched at least 300 “propaganda agents” at the frontline to report about the crisis development. They were required to only write or advertise “happy news”.

Several Chinese-owned media, he said, wrote stories glorifying Xi as the “brilliant and effective man to deal with the outbreak”. There were also headlines such as: “Following the Example of General Secretary Xi Jinping, For a Loyal and Heroic Struggle for Early Victory”.

However, Willy Wo-Lap Lam, a veteran political commentator from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said that many Chinese citizens distrust the system and fear more for their lives now after learning that the government censored the truth, which Xi always practices during every crisis.

Lam wrote:

“He’s accused of not divulging the truth about the virus and the number of casualties, of being too slow to mobilize medical supplies to the affected area, and for the people in the huge province of Hubei being left to their own devices under quarantine, without adequate resources from the central government.”

Doctors have been silenced and arrested.

There were eight doctors in Wuhan who tried raising awareness about the new virus but they ended up getting arrested and detained by Chinese authorities.

Li Wenliang, 34, an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, shared his concerns in December in a private chat with his fellow doctors. He told them about a suspected new strain of virus in the city but he was eventually “summoned by the Wuhan Police Bureau” and was forced to sign what they called “an admonishment notice” for allegedly spreading inaccurate or false information about the outbreak.

Li unfortunately contracted the virus and died on February 6. There were no reports, however, about the situation of the other seven doctors who were apprehended.

Wuhan officials were fired.

Apparently, Xi also blamed Wuhan officials about the rise of infected people and the cover-ups. However, the local officials pointed out that they could not divulge the truth until they have been authorized by Beijing. Xi fired and punished 400 officials in Wuhan.

“Xi is fighting for his reputation in this titanic episode of discourse management, although his grip on power is not in doubt,” Lam said.

The “racist” outcry.

Hartcher recalled when countries like his, the United States, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Vietnam, and other Asian countries imposed a travel ban to and from China. This offended China, accusing those countries as being racist and overreacting.

As of this writing, 81,000 individuals have been infected by coronavirus across the world. 2,715 out of the 2,764 deaths have been recorded in China.

Whether or not China or the world will admit it, the global outbreak was “made in China,” said Hartcher, for the unsafe animal and food handling still prevalent in the country.

During the outbreak of SARS between 2002 and 2003, China banned all sort of wild animal trading in the market. However, when the SARS crisis was finally contained, the government again relaxed the rules on the said ban.

The Australian editor then said that if China continues to make the same mistakes, it’s possible that another health crisis may again happen in the near future.

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