A silent observer looking around. At times he must protect his identity with avatars and weird sounding names.
This article wasn’t meant to incite racism against any Asian race. But being an Asian living in the nation close to China, I see the need to tell you this.
In this time of world-wide crisis, pointing fingers is not the best solution. But it won’t take an analyst to see the root-cause of the problem here. And by not stressing the source of this global dilemma, I think it’s bound to happen again. How can we learn if we won’t recognize the problem? This becomes especially true, if the people involved refused outright to take responsibilities. And worst, they began concocting lies.
The People’s Republic of China was known as the Bully of Asia for a reason. Just try sailing in the West Philippine Sea and chances are, their Coast Guard will block you for entering their “territory.” And consider yourself lucky if you managed to venture deep enough to see their artificial islands, which by the way are military bases.
And the areas in the West Philippine Sea is not even their valid territory to begin with.
To make matters worse a certain leader in South East Asia refused to stand his ground against Chinese incursions, contributing to the worsening crisis. Don’t know, maybe he is too afraid or something.
Arrogance is what China showed in West Philippine Sea. And that same kind of oppression now sickened many in the world. Literally. China got the chance to act swift, but they don’t want to lose face in the world. And look at the result now. Thanks to them, the world is now under a pandemic.
Officially, it’s known as the Coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID 19. The said disease was caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2). It’s contagious and possibly fatal, and spreads through respiratory droplets. Symptoms will appear within 2 to 14 days and include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and runny nose.
In 2019, the disease was first identified in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, China. By the 31st December of that year, pneumonia cases of unknown causes were reported, and further investigations were launched the month after.
By January 2020, a new coronavirus was identified from these cases, the SARS-CoV-2. And two thirds of which had direct exposures to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. The place is known to sell not only sea food, but live animals. And not just any live animals but exotic creatures and bushmeat known in China as ye wei. Animals sold ranges from badgers, reptiles, and even rats and venomous snakes.
Since coronaviruses, with SARS-CoV-2 included were carried by animals, a link was established between the market and the outbreak. Possibly, the market sells an infected animal, and was passed to humans upon exposures or contact. Snakes were the initial suspects, then bats. Later studies suggest pangolins, until it was generally agreed that bats are the origin.
Between January 1 to January 12, samples were taken from the market’s animals, and it was revealed that 33 of them was infected by the virus.
There are still considerations that the outbreak didn’t entirely originated from the market, as some cases came from other places. But the market did play a role in the spread of the virus. On January 1, 2020, the market was closed and disinfected. Interestingly the state-run media said that it was closed for renovation.
Attempt to Silence
The state media suggested that the market was closed for renovation, and not due to the disease. This tells a lot about an initial attempt to downplay the brewing pandemic. And one man paid dearly for telling the world the dangers of the impending disaster.
Li Wenliang was a doctor at Wuhan Central Hospital. On December 30, 2019 he saw a patient’s test report stating a positive result for SARS coronavirus test. He later warned his colleagues about the possible outbreak of a SARS like illness, where in their private WeChat group, he stated how 7 confirmed cases were reported from the Huanan Seafood Market. He even posted the patient’s examination report and CT scan image, and how it was confirmed as coronavirus infections. Li then asked the WeChat group members to inform their families and take protective measures.
What he never expected was how his discussion gained huge attention, when the screenshots of the messages were shared on Chinese forums. By then he was blamed by his managers for information leaks. Things get worse when the Wuhan Public Security Bureau interrogated Li and warned him for making false comments. He was made to sign a letter, so he won’t do it again.
Upon returning to work, Li contracted the virus on January 8. While ill, he shared his experiences in the police station and showed the letter of admonition on a social media. The post then went viral, but Li died of February 7, 2020.
There are angry reactions among people after Li’s death, as this is a clear attempt to censor whistle blowers. If Li’s warning was not suppressed, the threat should have been recognized earlier. Instead Li was labelled as rumormonger and some likened his treatment to how the Soviets managed the Chernobyl disaster.
And More Government Cover-ups
And Li is not alone.
The date was late December, and Ai Fen, director of Wuhan Central Hospital’s emergency department, received report about a SARS-like infection from a colleague. Ai shared a picture of the report in a WeChat group, where Li was also a member, and gave hospital authorities a warning about the virus.
But the next morning, she was cautioned by hospital leaders to remain quiet about the virus to avoid panic. And like Li, she was labelled as rumormonger.
An investigation made by the Chinese outlet Caixin reported that hospital staffs were aware of the person to person transmission of the virus, long before officials acknowledge it. An anonymous source also stated that Chinese authorities are known to spread misinformation. Their reports claimed that the disease was controllable, and would not spread among humans, despite the obvious human to human cases. This left a lot of doctors and nurses unaware of the risk they are facing as they treat infected patients. And these people aren’t allowed to report anything, even if they fell ill.
Officials are also known to interfere with the diagnosis, where reports were monitored by “experts” at the city and provincial levels. Wang Wenyoung, who leads the infectious disease control at Wuhan’s Jiangham district disease control center even told Wuhan Central hospital to alter suspected coronavirus reports, so it will state that the patient was suffering from something else. There are also delays, when district health authorities asked medical staffs to wait instead of doing their work of collecting samples and consulting with the hospital.
And China is not Learning
Hopefully, China have learned from this man-made apocalypse. But it seems that this is not the case. In a recent report by CNN, China’s Communist Party wants more gratitude on the way they handled the crisis. Party leader Wang Zhonglin said the people of Wuhan was not appreciative enough. As expected, his comments were met with criticism considering how the officials did their best to hide the pandemic
And Chinese propaganda recently went into play when China started the campaign to blame the US for the pandemic. This new form of misinformation came from a seemingly coordinated efforts by Chinese medical leaders, ambassadors, Foreign Ministry spokesperson, and even conspiracy theorists in social media.
The COVID 19 was worsened thanks to misinformation and suppression. And the misinformation in the form of China’s propaganda continues as the virus spreads around the globe. Who knows if China is yet to reveal the full extent of the pandemic? One thing is for sure. China owes the world a lot thanks to the mishandling of the virus.
Mamerto Adan (author) from Cabuyao on March 24, 2020:
And thanks Ajodo for stopping by!
Ajodo Endurance Uneojo from Lokoja, Nigeria. on March 24, 2020:
Thank you Mamerto.
It's a tragedy. Worse, a tragedy at a time when the right information could have safe countless lives.
I watched an infograph on how the COVID spread and continues. It is a case of the right action not taken when it's most needed.
It's all a result of misinformation as you rightly put it.
I wish those remaining after the COVID learn from this pandemic.
Thanks for sharing.