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China Concealed Extent of Virus Outbreak, U.S. Intelligence Says

China Concealed Extent of Virus Outbreak, U.S. Intelligence Says

> Report submitted to White House on China’s under-count
> U.S. has publicly reported more than twice as many cases

China has concealed the extent of the coronavirus outbreak in its country, under-reporting both total cases and deaths it’s suffered from the disease, the U.S. intelligence community concluded in a classified report to the White House, according to three U.S. officials.

The officials asked not to be identified because the report is secret and declined to detail its contents. But the thrust, they said, is that China’s public reporting on cases and deaths is intentionally incomplete. Two of the officials said the report concludes that China’s numbers are fake.

The report was received by the White House last week, one of the officials said.

The outbreak began in China’s Hubei province in late 2019, but the country has publicly reported only about 82,000 cases and 3,300 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That compares to more than 189,000 cases and more than 4,000 deaths in the U.S., which has the largest publicly reported outbreak in the world.

Communications staff at the White House and Chinese embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

While China eventually imposed a strict lockdown beyond those of less autocratic nations, there has been considerable skepticism of China’s reported numbers, both outside and within the country. The Chinese government has repeatedly revised its methodology for counting cases,  for weeks excluding people without symptoms entirely, and only on Tuesday added more than 1,500 asymptomatic cases to its total.

Stacks of thousands of urns outside funeral homes in Hubei province have driven public doubt in Beijing’s reporting.

Deborah Birx, the State Department immunologist advising the White House on its response to the outbreak, said Tuesday that China’s public reporting influenced assumptions elsewhere in the world about the nature of the virus.

“The medical community made -- interpreted the Chinese data as: This was serious, but smaller than anyone expected,” she said at a news conference on Tuesday. “Because I think probably we were missing a significant amount of the data, now that what we see happened to Italy and see what happened to Spain.”

China is not the only country with suspect public reporting. Western officials have pointed to Iran, Russia, Indonesia and especially North Korea, which has not reported a single case of the disease, as probable under-counts. Others including Saudi Arabia and Egypt may also be playing down their numbers

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has publicly urged China and other nations to be transparent about their outbreaks. He has repeatedly accused China of covering up the extent of the problem and being slow to share information, especially in the weeks after the virus first emerged, and blocking offers of help from American experts.

“This data set matters,” he said at a news conference in Washington on Tuesday. The development of medical therapies and public-health measures to combat the virus “so that we can save lives depends on the ability to have confidence and information about what has actually transpired,” he said.

“I would urge every nation: Do your best to collect the data. Do your best to share that information,” he said. “We’re doing that.”




  • topnotch97topnotch97 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    CCP Virus Patients Cremated Within an Hour After Death

  • topnotch97topnotch97 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐

    A recent leak on Chinese social media appears to show aid materials donated by Chinese-Americans to Wuhan being sold back to the United States.

  • CCP Virus Patients Cremated Within an Hour After Death

    ahahaha! CCP virus.  I will use that from now on.
  • hellraiser2.hellraiser2. PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

    China Wants to Use the Coronavirus to Take Over the World

    What started as a catastrophe for China is shaping up to be a moment of strategic opportunity, a rare turning point in the flow of history. Suddenly, the protests in Hong Kong, carrying a mortal threat to political stability in the mainland, became a physical impossibility. More important, the pandemic set in motion a global competition, to contain the virus, for which China and the Chinese Communist Party seem uniquely prepared.

    As the virus spread to the whole world, it became apparent that Western societies — Beijing’s true rivals — did not have the ability to quickly organize every citizen around a single goal. As opposed to China, which remains to a large extent a revolutionary society, their political systems were built for normal times. Chinese society is a mobilized army, which can quickly drop everything else and march in one direction.

    Mao once said, “Everything under heaven is in utter chaos, the situation is excellent.” And so it seems at present, as seen from Beijing. Chinese diplomats stationed all over the world spend their time raising the stakes to a dangerous level. Following instructions from the very top, they have taken to the media to issue a challenge to America, to point out its failure, and to compare the chaos in American cities and hospitals with what they see as a singular success in stopping the epidemic in China.

    Several commentators have suggested that China may be winning the coronavirus battle by stepping forward in providing medical help to affected countries, mostly in Europe, at a time when the United States is consumed with its own difficulties. This misses the point.

    The cases have been multiplying where the medical equipment provided by Chinese companies and even the Chinese state turned out to be faulty, provoking justified ire in, for example, Spain, the Netherlands, and Turkey. Moreover, medical help is a normal occurrence in a crisis. China has done nothing different, except perhaps in the clumsy way it publicizes those efforts.

    Forget about “mask diplomacy.” It is no more than a distraction. There are other ways for China to use the coronavirus pandemic to upturn the existing global order. I see three main levers.

    The first one is the direct comparison between the situation in China and elsewhere. The numbers of cases and fatalities provided by Chinese authorities almost certainly misrepresent the real figures by more than an order of magnitude, but the fact remains that a semblance of normalcy was achieved in a small period of time. If the United States fails to do the same, its prestige will suffer a severe blow. People all over the world will quickly change their perceptions about relative power and capacity.

    The second lever resides with industrial value chains. Last month General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler closed all their automotive production plants across the United States and Canada. Other sectors have followed. In the meantime, China contained the worst of the pandemic to one province, allowing economic activity to quickly resume elsewhere. The most recent data show renewed activity in the flow of goods across the country, as well as at ports worldwide that do business with China. If the freeze in Europe and America continues for much longer, Chinese companies will be able to dramatically expand market share and replace Western-led value chains. Just yesterday Chinese authorities announced that manufacturing activity expanded in March, defying expectations of a contraction. In February the official Purchasing Managers’ Index hit a record low of 35.7. It bounced back to 52.0 in March. Prepare for a worldwide wave of Chinese acquisitions at knockdown prices.

    Finally, in a more extreme scenario, important countries could experience the kind of economic shock that leads to widespread social and political collapse. At that point, China would have a unique opportunity to step in, provide aid, and refashion these countries in its image. It would look like a repeat of the Marshall Plan and the beginning of the American world order after the ravages of World War II. Indonesia, South Asia, and even Russia might be of special interest in such a scenario.

    We knew that a generalized race or competition between alternative geopolitical models had started, but it was never clear what the background for such a competition would be. If the clash took place within the existing global trade and financial system, which was of course built according to Western rules and principles, the United States was confident the battle could be decisively won. But what if it took place on neutral ground? What if it took place in a kind of neutral landscape, a state of nature with few or no rules, against a chaotic and quickly evolving background? The outcome would become considerably more uncertain.

    To put it more bluntly: There was always an argument that the existing world order cannot change because only a momentous war has done that in the past and world wars have become impossible. But in pandemics — and soon in climate change — we may have found two functional equivalents of war.

  • hellraiser2.hellraiser2. PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

    Gravitas: Wuhan CoronaVirus | Pictures that China doesn't want you to see | World News|Corona Update  

  • hsusonhsuson PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    China Virus
  • TrollmasterTrollmaster PEx Rookie ⭐

    Britain should pursue Beijing through international courts

    China owes us £531 billion: Britain should pursue Beijing through international courts for coronavirus compensation, major study claims as 15 top top Tories urge 'reset' in UK relations with country

    • 15 senior Tories wrote to Boris to demand a 'rethink' in relations with Beijing
    • The world's leading economies have been hit by a £3.2 trillion bill since outbreak
    • Study suggests this could have been avoided if China had been more honest
    Britain should pursue the Chinese government through international courts for £351 billion in coronavirus compensation, a major study into the crisis has concluded. 

    It comes as 15 senior Tories led by former Deputy Prime Minister Damian Green write to Boris Johnson to demand a 'rethink and a reset' in relations with Beijing. 

    The first comprehensive investigation into the global economic impact of the outbreak concludes that the G7 group of the world's leading economies have been hit by a £3.2 trillion bill that could have been avoided if the Chinese Communist Party had been open and honest about the outbreak late last year. 

    Britain's slice of the compensation sum includes the full cost of Chancellor Rishi Sunak's economic bailout and hike in NHS spending in response to the crisis. The landmark study also directly highlights crunch British policy decisions made earlier this year – such as not cancelling flights from London to Wuhan in January – that were hampered or directly affected by misinformation from China and the acquiescent World Health Organisation

    Britain should pursue the Chinese government through international courts for 351 billion in coronavirus compensation a major study into the crisis has concluded Pictured Medical workers in Wuhan pay tribute to those who have died from the virus

    Britain should pursue the Chinese government through international courts for £351 billion in coronavirus compensation, a major study into the crisis has concluded. Pictured: Medical workers in Wuhan pay tribute to those who have died from the virus

    The report, to be published tomorrow by the Henry Jackson Society, a British foreign policy think-tank, says there is evidence that China directly breached international healthcare treaty responsibilities, and outlines ten legal avenues major nations could take to pursue damages from them. 

    It is titled 'Coronavirus Compensation: Assessing China's potential culpability and avenues of legal response' and concludes: 'The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) sought to conceal bad news at the top, and to conceal bad news from the outside world. 

    Now China has responded by deploying an advanced and sophisticated disinformation campaign to convince the world that it is not to blame for the crisis, and that instead the world should be grateful for all that China is doing. 'The truth is that China is responsible for Covid-19 – and if legal claims were brought against Beijing they could amount to trillions of pounds.' 

    Legal avenues include bringing a case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague against China for breaking sanitary commitments, going to the UN and International Court of Justice, or the World Trade Organisation. 

    On the back of the report, four former Cabinet Ministers and 11 other Conservative MPs have jointly written to the Prime Minister to accuse China and demand a 'rethink' in relations. Mr Green and ex-Ministers Iain Duncan Smith, David Davis and Owen Paterson say they are 'concerned about the damage to the rules-based system caused by China's non-compliance with international treaties.' 

    The first comprehensive investigation into the global economic impact of the outbreak concludes that the G7 group of the worlds leading economies have been hit by a 32 trillion bill that could have been avoided if the Chinese Communist Party had been open and honest about the outbreak late last year Pictured people wear masks in Shanghai

    The first comprehensive investigation into the global economic impact of the outbreak concludes that the G7 group of the world's leading economies have been hit by a £3.2 trillion bill that could have been avoided if the Chinese Communist Party had been open and honest about the outbreak late last year. Pictured: people wear masks in Shanghai

    Their letter reads; 'Legally binding international healthcare regulations require states to provide full information on all potential pandemics. It appears likely that in its early response to the outbreak, the uphold its obligations. 

    'This omission allowed the disease to spread throughout the world with extraordinarily serious consequences in terms of global health and the economy. The cost to the UK may be, as a Henry Jackson Society report now suggests, over £350 billion.' 

    And they demand: 'Once the crisis has passed, we urge the Government to rethink our wider relationship with China. Over time, we have allowed ourselves to grow dependent on China and have failed to take a strategic view of Britain's long-term economic, technical and security needs.' 

    Last night Bob Seeley, a member of the Commons select committee on foreign affairs and who is another of the signatories, said: 'Once we are through this crisis, we need to reassess our ability to deal with non-traditional threats to our society, be they economic, political or, in this case, a pandemic. We can't go through this shock again without being better prepared.' 

    Last week the Chinese Embassy in London launched an astonishing rebuttal of reports in last weekend's Mail on Sunday that Downing Street had been warned that China's coronavirus figures were 'out by a factor of 15 to 40'. 

    They said British government officials had said the 'reported remarks do not represent government position' and the Britain had 'spoken highly of China's contribution to the global response'. A No10 source said they were not aware of any conversations taking place. The Chinese Embassy declined to be interviewed by the MoS yesterday.


  • TrollmasterTrollmaster PEx Rookie ⭐
    edited April 5
    19th century Napoleon Bonaparte: "China is a sleeping lion. Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will shake the world."

    2020:  "China is a sleeping giant virus. Let her snooze, for when she wakes she will infect the world."


  • hellraiser2.hellraiser2. PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

    Coronavirus: Nigerian doctors reject country’s plan to invite Chinese medical team

    The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has rejected the federal government’s proposed invitation of an 18-member Chinese medical team to support the country’s fight against coronavirus.

    The NMA President, Francis Faduyile, in a statement Sunday said the move is a misplaced priority. He described it as “a thing of embarrassment to the membership of the Association and other health workers who are giving their best in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic under deplorable working conditions.”

    The plan of inviting an 18-member team of Chinese medical experts to Nigeria has been criticised since it was announced Friday by health minister, Osagie Ehanire.

    The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) had advised the federal government against the plan, saying it was unnecessary to invite Chinese doctors as Nigeria was already handling the crisis effectively.


    But the Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Garba Abari, further clarified the reasons behind the proposed visit on Saturday.

    He said the Chinese medical team were only coming to share experiences with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and not to directly take charge of the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

    According to him, they will be sharing experiences on how the pandemic was handled in China and giving expert suggestions to our medical teams.

    “Whatever information the Chinese medical team makes available to NCDC will be filtered and applied to address the peculiar challenges of the country on handling the COVID-19 scourge.

    “This is a global pandemic and from wherever assistance comes, you cannot reject it”, the official noted.

  • hellraiser2.hellraiser2. PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

    Time to put China on lockdown for its dishonesty amid coronavirus crisis

    There are many lessons to be learned from the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. But one is already clear: China needs to be isolated from the civilized world until its behavior improves. We are in the current situation, with deaths and economic devastation worldwide, because China handled this outbreak with its trademark mixture of dishonesty, incompetence and thuggery. Were China a more civilized nation, this outbreak would have been stopped early, and with far less harm, inside and outside of China.

    As Marion Smith wrote in these pages on Sunday, China’s first response was to clamp down on reports of the then-new disease that had appeared in Wuhan. The brave doctor, Li Wenliang, who first reported the disease to fellow physicians was silenced by police. Chinese media reports of the disease were censored by the government. So were ordinary citizens reporting on social media.

    Coronavirus coverup

    According to U.S. intelligence agencies, China systematically deceived the world about the extent of the outbreak, lulling other nations into a false sense of security that delayed a response by weeks or even months.

    As Smith writes: “Beijing denied until Jan. 20 that human to human transmission was occurring. Yet at the same time, Chinese officials and state-owned companies were urgently acquiring bulk medical supplies — especially personal protective equipment like masks and gloves — from AustraliaEurope, and around the world. Put simply, Beijing hoarded the world’s life-saving resources while falsely claiming that people’s lives weren’t at risk.”

    And this is the most charitable account, based on China failing to deal with what was, at root, a naturally occurring disease outbreak. And it may have been naturally occurring. But people are increasingly entertaining the possibility that the COVID-19 virus was accidentally released by a Chinese virology lab in Wuhan.

    That notion was once dismissed as a conspiracy theory, but it has since been discussed in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and by uber-establishment Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. The talk is of an accidental release, not the deliberate deployment of a biological weapon — which makes sense, since few nations would release a bioweapon in their own heartland — but if it’s true it only makes the Chinese government look worse, though it perhaps explains their unwillingness to be forthcoming.

    But wherever the virus came from, China’s response was inept, dishonest and utterly inconsiderate of the rest of the world. A competent, honest response would have placed the world on notice much earlier. A China that cared about the rest of the world would have halted flights abroad while this disease was spreading, instead of allowing its citizens to spread willy-nilly around the globe. (As Brian Kennedy writes: “China seems to have taken the position that if they were to suffer the coronavirus, so too was the United States and the rest of the world. What else is to explain the continuation of flights from China to the United States at the rate of some 20,000 passengers a day, until President Trump wisely shut them down?”)

    China needs to show good global citizenship

    This calls for a response.

    The response needs to be harsh enough to teach the Chinese government a lesson, which means pretty harsh, as they appear to still think they can brazen this out. Among other things, the United States — and ideally the world community at large — need to sharply reduce economic relations with China. In particular, no one should be relying on them for medicines, medical equipment and other vital goods. (China’s state news service threatened to plunge America into a “mighty sea” of coronavirus by withholding critical medications.) Chinese scientists should no longer have easy access to Western laboratories or universities. Chinese political leaders should no longer find it easy to travel the world.

    Congress should pass legislation stripping the Chinese government of sovereign immunity to lawsuits for COVID-19 damage in the United States. China should be stripped of its leadership roles in international organizations. And finally, Taiwan — a nation that has handled the outbreak better than almost any other nation, but has been excluded from the World Health Organization because its membership would offend the Chinese government — deserves membership in WHO, and full diplomatic recognition from the United States, and the rest of the world.

    These are harsh penalties and the Chinese government won’t like them. They will involve much loss of face for the Chinese Communist Party leadership. But they deserve it, and an example needs to be made. The world is a small and interconnected place now. Those who would profit from globalization, as the Chinese ruling class has, need to show good global citizenship. Now is the time to make that lesson stick.

  • Juan Plus OneJuan Plus One PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    That is painful to read.  Very irresponsible on China's side.
  • hellraiser2.hellraiser2. PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

    21 million Chinese died of coronavirus – US intelligence officials intercept data

    A new data intercepted by the United States reveals that 21 million people died in China from December 2019 to March 2020, US intelligence officials conclude in a classified report for the Trump administration.

    The Intelligence report stated that at least 20.9 million of the deaths were linked to coronavirus.

    According to the US, the intercepted data that shows that China underreported its coronavirus infections and deaths was validated for a second time when it tallied with a data released by Beijing authorities. Beijing announced on March 19 that over 21 million cell phone accounts in China were canceled in the past three months while 840,000 landlines were closed.

    China had reported little over 81,000 infections with 3,300 deaths.

    An earlier intelligence report released by the US that China hid scale of the outbreak was quickly rejected by Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying. Hua said the country had been “open and transparent” about the extent of the outbreak before accusing Washington of trying to “shift the blame.”

    But US officials say the report has been authenticated and has been confirmed that the closing of the phones numbers were as result of deaths caused by coronavirus. “Cell phones are an indispensable part of life in China and its only closed when the user is dead”, the report said.

    “The digitization level is very high in China. People can’t survive without a cell phone,” Tang Jingyuan, a U.S.-based China Affairs commentator told The Epoch Times on March 21. “Dealing with the government for pensions and social security, buying train tickets, shopping… no matter what people want to do, they are required to use cell phones.”

    “The Chinese regime requires all Chinese use their cell phones to generate a health code. Only with a green health code are Chinese allowed to move in China now,” Tang said. “It’s impossible for a person to cancel his cell phone.”

    China introduced mandatory facial scans on Dec. 1, 2019 to confirm the identity of the person who registered the phone. As early as Sept. 1, 2010, China required all cell phone users to register the phone with their real identification (ID), by which the state can control people’s speech via its large-scale monitoring system.

    Furthermore, Chinese people have to bundle their bank accounts and social security account with their cell phone because all these service’s Apps can detect the phone’s SIM card and then check with the state’s database to make sure the number belongs to the person.

    Beijing first launched cell phone-based health codes on March 10. All people in China have to install a cell phone app and register their personal health information. Then the app can generate a QR code, which is possible in three colors, to classify people’s health level. Red means the person has an infectious disease. Yellow means the person might have an infectious disease. Green means the person doesn’t have an infectious disease.

    21 Million Cell Phone Accounts Closed

    China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced the quantities of phone users in each province in February on March 19. Compared with the previous announcement, which was released on Dec. 18, 2019 for the data in November 2019, both cell phone users and landline users dropped dramatically. In the same period the year before, the number of accounts increased.

    The number of cell phone users decreased from 1.600957 billion to 1.579927 billion, which is 21.03 million less. Landline users dropped from 190.83 million to 189.99 million, which is 0.84 million less.

    In February 2019, the number increased. According to MIIT’s announcements on March 26, 2019 and Dec. 20, 2018, the cell phone users increased in February 2019 from 1.5591 billion to 1.5835 billion, which is 24.37 million more. The landline users raised from 183.477 million to 190.118 million, which is 6.641 million more.

    According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, the country’s population at the end of 2019 was 4.67 million larger than 2018, and reached 1.40005 billion.

    The 2020 decrease in landline users may be due to the nationwide quarantine in February, during which small businesses were shut down. But the decrease in cell phone users can’t be explained in this way.

    According to the operation data of all three Chinese cell phone carriers, cell phone accounts increased in December 2019, but dropped steeply in 2020.

    China Mobile is the largest carrier, and holds about 60 percent of the Chinese cell phone market. It reported that it lost 7.254 million cell phone accounts in February, and 0.862 million in January. But in Dec. 2019, it gained 3.732 million more users.

  • hellraiser2.hellraiser2. PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

    Beijing tightens grip over coronavirus research, amid US-China row on virus origin

    Hong Kong (CNN)China has imposed restrictions on the publication of academic research on the origins of the novel coronavirus, according to a central government directive and online notices published by two Chinese universities, that have since been removed from the web.

    Under the new policy, all academic papers on Covid-19 will be subject to extra vetting before being submitted for publication. Studies on the origin of the virus will receive extra scrutiny and must be approved by central government officials, according to the now-deleted posts.
    A medical expert in Hong Kong who collaborated with mainland researchers to publish a clinical analysis of Covid-19 cases in an international medical journal said his work did not undergo such vetting in February.

    The increased scrutiny appears to be the latest effort by the Chinese government to control the narrative on the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 100,000 lives and sickened 1.7 million people worldwide since it first broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.
      Since late January, Chinese researchers have published a series of Covid-19 studies in influential international medical journals. Some findings about early coronavirus cases -- such as when human-to-human transition first appeared -- have raised questions over the official government account of the outbreak and sparked controversy on Chinese social media.

      And now, Chinese authorities appear to be tightening their grip on the publication of Covid-19 research.

      A Chinese researcher who spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of retaliation said the move was a worrying development that would likely obstruct important scientific research.
      "I think it is a coordinated effort from (the) Chinese government to control (the) narrative, and paint it as if the outbreak did not originate in China," the researcher told CNN. "And I don't think they will really tolerate any objective study to investigate the origination of this disease."

      Increased scrutiny

      According to the directive issued by the Ministry of Education's science and technology department, "academic papers about tracing the origin of the virus must be strictly and tightly managed."

      The directive lays out layers of approval for these papers, starting with the academic committees at universities. They are then required to be sent to the Education Ministry's science and technology department, which then forwards the papers to a task force under the State Council for vetting. Only after the universities hear back from the task force can the papers be submitted to journals.

      Other papers on Covid-19 will be vetted by universities' academic committees, based on conditions such as the "academic value" of the study, and whether the "timing for publishing" is right.

      The directive is based on instructions issued during a March 25 meeting held by the State Council's task force on the prevention and control of Covid-19, it said.

      The document was first posted Friday morning on the website of the Fudan University in Shanghai, one of China's leading universities.

      When CNN called a contact number left at the end of the notice, a staff member of the Education ministry's science and technology department confirmed they had issued the directive

      "It is not supposed to be made public -- it is an internal document," said the person, who refused to reveal his name.

      A few hours later, the Fudan University page was taken down.

      The China University of Geoscience in Wuhan also posted a similar notice about the extra vetting on Covid-19 papers on its website. The page has since been deleted, but a cached version of it remains accessible.

      The Chinese researcher who spoke to CNN said the notice was issued a few days ago, adding that only Covid-19 research was subject to the additional checks.
      David Hui Shu-cheong, a respiratory medicine expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said he did not encounter any additional vetting when he and a team of mainland Chinese researchers published a clinical analysis of Covid-19 cases in the New England Journal of Medicine in February.

      "The process was really simple then," he told CNN over the phone.
      Hui said he was still revising the draft of the paper until 3 a.m. on the day it was due for submission, and the paper was sent to the NEJM by midday.

      "There was completely no restriction at all," he said.
      "I don't know if it is because some researchers published something that is considered sensitive domestically in China. (I'm) not sure if it is because of the controversy about the origin of the virus later, and the non-sensitive stuff becomes sensitive too."

      Origin of the virus

      In late December, Wuhan reported the first cases of the coronavirus, linked by authorities to a seafood market in the city. Scientists in China and the West have said the virus is likely to have originated in bats and jumped to humans from an intermediate host -- just like its cousin that caused the SARS epidemic in 2002 and 2003.

      However, parts of Chinese social media and even the country's government appear to have launched a concerted campaign to question the origin of the virus.

      Chinese officials and state media have repeatedly stressed that there has been no conclusion on the exact origin of the virus. Last month, Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, promoted a conspiracy on Twitter that the virus had originated in the US and was brought to China by the US military.

      Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations, said the origin of the coronavirus has become a politically sensitive topic in China.

      "It is no surprise that the government seeks to control related scientific research so that the findings do not challenge its own narrative on the origin of the virus and the government response to the crisis," Professor Huang told CNN.

      "The danger is that when scientific research is subject to the needs of those in power, it further undermines the credibility of the government narrative, making accusations of underreporting and misinformation more convincing."

      In China, research papers on the coronavirus are already subjected to layers of vetting after they are submitted to Chinese academic journals, according to an editor at a Chinese medical journal.

      Wang Lan, the editorial director of the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology, said all Covid-19 papers have to go through an approval process for "major topics" after being submitted to her journal.

      "It has always been the case," she told CNN. "They have to be approved by three levels of organizations. It's a long process."
        The Chinese researcher who requested anonymity said under the new restrictions, however, coronavirus research that contradicted the official narrative could be suppressed by Beijing.
        "I think the importance is that the international scientific community must realize that any journal or manuscripts from (a) Chinese research institution has kind of been double-checked by the government," said the researcher. "It is important for them to know there are extra steps between independent scientific research and final publication."

      • hellraiser2.hellraiser2. PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

        Coronavirus: Macron questions China's handling of outbreak

        Mr Macron told the Financial Times it was "naive" to suggest China had dealt better with the crisis, adding things "happened that we don't know about".

        More people have died in the US and several European countries than in China where the virus emerged.

        The US and the UK have also cast doubt on China's figures and the speed with which it responded or alerted others.

        However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has praised China's measures.

        Worldwide, more than two million people have been infected and more than 145,000 have died. 

        The US,France, Italy and Spain are amongst the worst affected countries.

        What's behind this French-Chinese confrontation?

        France has seen 141,000 cases of Covid-19 and nearly 18,000 deaths. China has recorded 4,632 deaths - including an extra 1,290 deaths announced on Friday in the city of Wuhan, where the pandemic started and where a strict lockdown has only recently been lifted.

        Local officials said early reporting there had been delayed and inaccurate.

        President Macron's interview came after a weekend of tension which saw the summoning of the Chinese ambassador to Paris by the French foreign ministry to express disapproval over an article on the Chinese embassy's website that said Western countries had left the elderly to die in care homes.  

        China dismissed the row as a "misunderstanding". Government spokesman Zhao Lijian said China had never made any negative comments about how France was coping with the epidemic "and has no intention of making any".

        Mr Macron was asked if China's authoritarian response to bring the outbreak under control had exposed the weakness of Western democracies, and responded that there was no comparison between open societies and those where truth was suppressed.

        "Given these differences, the choices made and what China is today, which I respect, let's not be so naive as to say it's been much better at handling this," he said.

        "We don't know. There are clearly things that have happened that we don't know about."

        He said that abandoning freedoms to fight the pandemic would threaten Western democracies.

        "We can't accept that. You can't abandon your fundamental DNA on the grounds that there is a health crisis."

        What is China being accused of?

        Many Western officials are coming under pressure to explain why the coronavirus outbreak is wreaking havoc on their populations - proportionally much smaller than China's.

        The UK and the US have led the charge that China's figures and explanations cannot be trusted.

        UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told a news conference on Thursday that "hard questions" would have be asked about how the outbreak started "and how it couldn't have been stopped earlier".

        He said there would have to be a "deep dive" into how the virus was able to spread from China and said it could not be "business as usual" after the crisis.

        US President Donald Trump has also taken a harder line against China.

        On Wednesday, asked why the US accounted for such a high proportion of the global death toll, he responded: "Does anybody really believe the numbers of some of these countries?" he said, naming China.

        The UK and the US have led the charge that China's figures and explanations cannot be trusted.

        UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told a news conference on Thursday that "hard questions" would have be asked about how the outbreak started "and how it couldn't have been stopped earlier".

        He said there would have to be a "deep dive" into how the virus was able to spread from China and said it could not be "business as usual" after the crisis.

        US President Donald Trump has also taken a harder line against China.

        On Wednesday, asked why the US accounted for such a high proportion of the global death toll, he responded: "Does anybody really believe the numbers of some of these countries?" he said, naming China.

        He said the US was also looking into unverified reports that the coronavirus may have emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan rather than in a market in the city.

        Fox News in the US, citing unnamed sources, has suggested that the coronavirus accidentally leaked from a Wuhan facility because of lax safety protocols.

        The Washington Post newspaper has reported information obtained from diplomatic cables. They show that, in 2018, US science diplomats were sent on repeated visits to a Chinese research facility. Officials sent two warnings to Washington about inadequate safety at the lab.

        US intelligence agencies have taken an interest, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Mark Milley said on Tuesday.

        "We've had a lot of intelligence look at that. And I would just say at this point, it's inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural. But we don't know for certain."

        There is no evidence of any kind that the Sars-CoV-2 virus was released accidentally from a lab, says the BBC's science editor Paul Rincon.

        One online theory, that went viral in January, suggested the virus could have been engineered in a lab as a bioweapon. This allegation has been repeatedly dismissed by scientists, who note that studies show the virus originated in animals - most likely in bats.

      • hellraiser2.hellraiser2. PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

        US says ‘evidence’ virus came from China lab as Europe eases lockdown

        WASHINGTON, United States – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday said “enormous evidence” showed the new coronavirus originated in a lab in China, further fueling tensions with Beijing over its handling of the outbreak.

        Pompeo’s comments came as Europe and parts of the United States prepared to cautiously lift virus lockdowns as signs emerge that the deadly pandemic is ebbing and governments look to restart their battered economies.

        More than 245,000 people have been killed and 3.4 million infected worldwide by the virus, which has left half of humanity under some form of lockdown and pushed the global economy towards its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

        US President Donald Trump, increasingly critical of China’s management of the first outbreak in the city of Wuhan in December, last week claimed to have proof it started in a Chinese laboratory.

        Scientists believe the virus jumped from animals to humans, after emerging in China, possibly from a market in Wuhan selling exotic animals for meat.

        ‘History of infecting the world’ 

        China denies the claims, and the US Director of National Intelligence office has said analysts are still examining the exact origin of the outbreak.

        Pompeo, a former CIA chief, told the ABC he agreed with a statement from the US intelligence community about the “wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified.”

        But Pompeo went further than Trump, citing “significant” and “enormous” evidence that the virus originated in a Wuhan lab.

        “I think the whole world can see now, remember, China has a history of infecting the world and running substandard laboratories.”

        Pompeo said early Chinese efforts to downplay the coronavirus amounted to “a classic Communist disinformation effort. That created enormous risk.”

        “President Trump is very clear: we’ll hold those responsible accountable.”

        Pressure from demonstrators

        US news reports say Trump has tasked US spies to find out more about the origins of the virus, as he makes China’s handling of the pandemic a centerpiece of his campaign for the November presidential election.

        The United States has the most coronavirus deaths in the world at more 67,000, and Trump is keen for a turnaround to help reduce the economic pain, with tens of millions left jobless.

        Florida is set to ease its lockdown Monday, as other states wrestle with pressure from demonstrators — some carrying weapons — who have rallied against the restrictions.

        In New York, the epicenter of the US outbreak, an emergency field hospital erected in Central Park is set to close as virus cases decline.

        But dozens of New Yorkers were fined for violating social distancing guidelines as they flocked to beaches and parks in balmy weekend weather.


      • hellraiser2.hellraiser2. PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

        Leaked data suggests China may have 640,000 coronavirus cases, not 80,000

        A leaked database from a Chinese military-run university suggests the country may have at least 640,000 COVID-19 cases — a figure substantially higher than Beijing’s dubious claim that it has seen just 80,000 coronavirus infections.

        The virus tracker, compiled by China’s National University of Defense Technology and leaked to Foreign Policy magazine, appears to confirm fears that the nation’s Communist government is hiding the true nature of the outbreak that originated in Wuhan late last year.

        According to the report, the virus tracker consists of more than 640,000 rows of cases in 230 cities ranging from early February to late April and confirms the location of each infection.

        The data includes locations for hospitals, train stations, hotels, restaurants and schools and was compiled by a professor at the university that is run by China’s Central Military Commission, the report said.

        China’s ruling Communist Party, which has blocked US scientists from coming to the country to study the virus, claims it has seen only 4,633 deaths and 82,929 cases as of Thursday.

        These figures are considered highly untrustworthy by the international community, with the US now at 85,601 deaths and 1.4 million confirmed cases.

        Suspicions that China was hiding the true scale of the outbreak were only furthered when state media last week suddenly increased the coronavirus death toll in the city of Wuhan by 50 percent.

        US intelligence agencies have informed the White House that they believe China undercounted its number of infections and deaths, hindering modeling efforts and leading to calls from the international community for a probe into the origins of the outbreak in December.

      • hellraiser2.hellraiser2. PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

        US sues Chinese firm over half-million 'fake' N95 masks

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        WASHINGTON, United States — The US Justice Department sued a Chinese company for selling nearly a half million fake and substandard N95 respirator to US buyers in April as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the country.

        In a complaint filed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, the department said Guangdong-based King Year Packaging and Printing shipped three batches of purported N95 masks, needed to protect medical and other personnel from the coronavirus, to US buyers.

        The company falsely claimed the 495,200 masks it shipped were met the N95 standard and also falsely claimed they were certified by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), according to the complaint.

        The complaint indicated the importer of the masks paid more than $1 million for them.

        "The charges alleged in this complaint show a blatant disregard for the safety of American citizens," FBI agent Douglas Korneski, who investigated the masks deal, said in a statement.

        "Had it not been for the actions of the investigative team, this defendant would have put first responders, hospital employees, and other front line workers directly in harm's way with faulty equipment just to make a buck."

        The Chinese company was charged with four counts of importing misbranded and substandard health products and making false to the US Food and Drug Administration.

        Each charge carries a maximum fine of $500,000, or if greater, twice what the company earned in selling the masks.

      • hsusonhsuson PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐

        CCP Virus.....
      • hellraiser2.hellraiser2. PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

        Fake 'Made in Taiwan' masks from China discovered in Philippines

        Masks come with fake certificate claiming to be made in ‘Taiwan, China’

        Fake Made-In-Taiwan masks Facebook beargotraveling photo

        TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China-made face masks falsely claiming to have been manufactured in Taiwan have surfaced in the Philippines in another example of how the country’s reputation for making quality masks is being exploited.

        Photos of the counterfeits were shared by Facebook user beargotraveling (熊熊來七逃) on Thursday (June 11) to warn Filipinos. The masks, sold in boxes labeled as the brand AiDeLai (愛德萊), are described as "anti-bacterial, able to keep out smells, dust, smog, sunlight, and can block PM2.5 particulates" in both simplified Chinese and English.

        The masks even come with a certificate that blatantly states the protective gear was manufactured by "Taibei Rongyi Textile Co." (台北市融億紡織有限公司), with the place of origin erroneously specified as "Taiwan, China" (中國台灣).

        Not only is the name of the Taiwanese capital "Taipei" spelled wrong, the company Rongyi Textile Co. does not exist in the island country. However, there is a firm called Rongyi Textile Co. located in China's Jiangsu province.

        This is not the first time that netizens have noticed fake made-in-Taiwan masks from China. In April, a user who goes by the handle awakenedcivil (暴民) also took to Facebook to bring attention to counterfeits found in Japan.

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