‘Concealing the truth’ Chinese whistleblower speaks out on COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan
More than 860,000 people have now been infected with the deadly virus and 42,000 dead, as millions are in lockdown across the world indefinitely. COVID-19 is believed to have originated in Wuhan at a seafood market where wild animals including birds, bats and snakes were traded illegally. The first case of the virus is thought to have been recorded as early as December 1, but China did not report the outbreak to the World Health Organisation (WHO) until December 31.
Speaking on Four Corner’s ‘Secrets behind Coronavirus’ documentary, Centre for Strategic International Studies senior fellow Richard McGregor said the Chinese government sat on this information for weeks.
He said last month: “The key point in this saga is they lost about two weeks, maybe three, just when the virus was at its nascent point, just at a time where they could have traced it, a time when perhaps they could have checked it.
“When a group of doctors began sharing information they had about a strange new virus on WeChat, they were doing what you would expect medical professionals to do.
“But, of course, that’s a dangerous thing to do in China.
The central government adopted the policy of concealing the truth
Dr Wu Qiang
“I think there’s little doubt that local officials in Wuhan did withhold information, the doctors who were talking about it were explicitly told to shut up.”
The communist country arrested anyone “spreading rumours” online, including Dr Li Wenliang, who first raised the alert to his former classmates in a private WeChat group.
Former Tsinghua University politics lecturer, Dr Wu Qiang, told investigators that the Chinese government was concealing the truth, which allowed for the outbreak on such a huge scale.
He said: “I have no doubts that the local government reported the situation to the central government.
“So local government were not accountable to the people at that time.
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“But the central government adopted the policy of concealing the truth from the public, starting to control the epidemic internally.
“This contradiction prevented them from properly mobilising to deal with the spread of the epidemic.
“Although internal controls were in place, the information kept from the public’s eye caused the outbreak of the disaster and the spread of the disease.”
Dr Wu claims he is not alone in the anger towards the government and said there is a growing amount of unrest in the country over the handling.
He added: “More of the 900 million Chinese citizens, who are equipped with smartphones, have become extremely dissatisfied with the virus in the past month or so.
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“From my own observation, this level of dissatisfaction is unprecedented in the past 80 years.
“They have been tremendously dissatisfied with the local government’s ineffectiveness in epidemic and disaster relief the Wuhan people have seen from the city lockdown, the paralysis of the local medical institutions and the huge risk they face.”
On February 11, 34-year-old Dr Wenliang lost his battle with coronavirus, weeks after sounding the alarm over the virus.
Last week, the Wuhan police made an official apology to the family of Dr Li for their “inappropriate handling of the situation” and revoked the letter of reprimand for spreading rumours.
However, Dr Wu claims the people of China are shocked with the handling of the situation.
He added: “The public intellectuals and the public both realised that Dr Li represented the conscience of China.
“He was oppressed from the beginning for telling the truth and could have saved the lives of tens of thousands of people.
“But all this was concealed due to the authorities’ suppression of free speech.
“I believe the public expressed their dissatisfaction with the government by commemorating him.”
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