China Is Erasing Tributes To Coronavirus Whistleblower Doctor Li Wenliang

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The Chinese government has attempted to eradicate an unprecedented outpouring of grief and anger following the death of Li Wen liang, the doctor who tried to warn the world about the growing threat from the corona virus outbreak.

In the hours after Li’s death from coronavirus was confirmed Thursday, Chinese citizens staged a rare collective protest online criticizing the government and officials for failing the doctor by silencing him and ignoring the threat posed by the coronavirus, which has now killed at least 637 people in China and infected at least 31,000 more.

As well as directly referencing Li’s death, online critics quoted the song “Do You Hear the People Sing,” referenced Article 35 of China’s constitution that provides for freedom of speech, and shared sections of the poem “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”

“This is not the death of a whist leb lower. This is the death of a hero,” said one comment on Weibo.

But within hours, the government had wiped clean much of the anger and critical voices, part of its widespread campaign to silence any voices critical of the government’s response to the virus outbreak, particularly its delayed reaction to initial reports coming out of Wuhan in December.

The government issued censorship instructions to the media in the wake of Li’s death, warning them that “it is strictly forbidden for reports to use contributions from self-media, and sites may not use pop-up alerts, comment, or sensationalize.”

It added that outlets should “not set up special topic sections, gradually withdraw the topic from Hot Search lists, and strictly manage harmful information,” according to a leaked copy of the alert seen by China Digital Times, a California-based group that monitors China’s online space.

The government even tried to control the news of Li’s death, likely knowing the anger and outrage it would cause.

Several state-run media outlets, including the People’s Daily and the Global Times, broke the news of Li’s death at around 10:30 p.m. local time, news that was quickly picked up by international media.

However, according to screenshots posted on Weibo, the government quickly issued a “reporting instruction” to journalists to play down Li’s death. State-run media quickly deleted their stories and claimed Li was still alive but in a critical condition.

at around 3 a.m. local time on Friday morning.

Li died from corona virus a month after he tried to warn family and friends in a private We Chat message about a growing threat he had seen at Wuhan Central Hospital, where he worked as an ophthalmologist.

After his warning was shared online and went viral, Li was silenced by Chinese authorities and warned that if he spoke up again there would be serious consequences.

Li went back to work and a week later unknowingly treated a patient with corona virus. He fell ill days later and was admitted to the intensive care ward.

The silencing of Li is part of a wider effort by Beijing to censor any negative comments about the corona virus outbreak. Now, some in Wuhan are worried that another critical voice may have been silenced.

Former human rights lawyer Chen Qiushi, who became famous for his citizen journalism during the Hong Kong protests last year, has been posting videos from Wuhan detailing what life is really like in the city that is under lockdown.

Chen’s reporting has shown how taxi drivers in Wuhan knew about the outbreak as early as mid-December, and how medical staff at Wuhan’s hospitals had become infected with corona virus, despite government claims to the contrary.

Chen’s WeChat account was suspended shortly after he arrived in Wuhan on Jan. 24, and other users were told that sharing Chen’s videos, which included trips to local hospitals and interviews with citizens angry at the government’s slow response, would result in them being banned too.

But now friends say he has not been seen or heard from since 7 p.m. local time on Thursday when he was due to visit one of the temporary hospitals established in Wuhan. His mother posted a video on Twitter calling for help locating her son.

China Is Now Blaming A Lone U.S. Cyclist For Coronavirus

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A Chinese state-run newspaper is pushing an unfounded conspiracy theory that a U.S. military athlete was the patient zero of corona virus.

The Global Times, citing known U.S. conspiracy theorist George Webb, claims that the virus was manufactured in a U.S. military lab and brought to China by a cyclist who took part in the World Military Games in Wuhan in October.

The claim is part of a wider effort by the Chinese government to change the narrative about the origin of the corona virus, as the Trump administration continues to label the pandemic as the “Chinese virus” or the “Wuhan virus.”

The conspiracy theory linking the outbreak to the U.S. athletes’ visit to the games in Wuhan was first promoted by foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, who tweeted about it earlier this month. It was then repeated by other officials and by state-run news outlets.

It appeared that Beijing was standing down from its conspiracy push earlier this week, when China’s ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai dismissed the conspiracy theory as “crazy” in an interview with Axios.

But on Wednesday, Beijing doubled down by publishing the claims first put forward by Webb.

The Global Times admits that Webb’s conclusions are “without strong evidence”, but it also claims that Chinese citizens and experts are calling on the U.S. to publish details about the athletes who traveled to Wuhan.

Among those cited is Li Ha i dong, a professor of U.S. studies at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing. The Global Times quotes him saying that Washington needs to publish the “relevant information regarding the athlete’s health status and infection records to clear public doubts and help with the scientific study on the virus’ origin.”

The theory was repeated in several other Chinese-language outlets and was also shared by We Chat users.

As China tries to refocus attention away from Wuhan and onto the U.S., the Trump administration appears unwilling to back down from using what many deem racist language about the corona virus.

Donald Trump on Wednesday said he was going to stop using the term “Chinese virus,” telling Fox News that “we shouldn’t make any more of a big deal out of it.” Trump said he only began using it because of the conspiracy theories being shared by Chinese officials.

But his Secretary of State Mike Pom peo is continuing to push the use of these problematic terms.

Pom peo held a virtual conference with leaders from the G 7 alliance on Wednesday but they were unable to agree on a joint statement on the global pandemic. The reason, according to sources speaking to ABC News, was that Pom peo insisted that any statement include the term “Wuhan virus.”

China initially suppressed news of the outbreak, silencing whist leb lower doctors and other citizens seeking to share information from Wuhan during the peak of the outbreak. And yet, while the World Health Organization has acknowledged China made some “mistakes” in its initial handling of the outbreak, WHO officials have been largely positive about how Beijing has responded to the crisis.

But the U.S. continues to lay the blame for the global pandemic, which has now killed over 21,000 people, on Beijing’s mishandling of the crisis accusing it of “blatant and dangerous propaganda” about the disease’s origins.

“First [China] tried to suppress the news. Then, it worked to protect its own population while selectively sharing critical information, such as genetic sequence data, and continuing to stonewall international health authorities that were offering assistance, requesting access and seeking more information,” wrote Woody Johnson, U.S. ambassador to the U.K., in an opinion piece in the London Times on Thursday.

“Had China done the right things at the right time, more of its own population, and the rest of the world, might have been spared the most serious impact of this disease.”

Spain Now Has More Coronavirus Deaths Than China

The Spanish government enacted a nationwide lockdown 11 days ago, but the virus continues to spread rapidly, with almost 8,000 new infections reported on Wednesday morning. The total number of confirmed cases is now 47,610.

There are now more than 3,100 people in intensive care units, an increase of 20% from the previous day.

The government is hoping that the effects of its quarantine measures will be felt by the end of the week, and on Wednesday, Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts, told reporters that Spain may be reaching the peak of the outbreak.

“We are very close to that peak, although I dare not say if we have arrived,” Simón said according to El País. “But the trends we are observing indicate that we are approaching.”

The country has taken extraordinary measures to try to cope with the influx of cases, particularly in the capital Madrid where over half of all deaths have been recorded. Authorities have turned a giant ice rink inside a shopping mall into a temporary morgue and converted a huge convention center into a 5,000-bed field hospital.

But the outbreak has put unprecedented pressure on the health care system, which lacks the necessary protective equipment for front line staff. Over 5,400 health care workers have been infected, and those on the front lines say the government has not done enough to provide them with sufficient masks, visors and impenetrable gowns Judi Online.

On Monday, the defense ministry confirmed that some Spanish soldiers had found residents of a nursing home abandoned while others were “dead in their beds.”

The government has asked NATO to send urgent medical supplies, and on Sunday Spain’s prime minister extended the state of emergency for another 15 days, keeping people in lockdown until April 11.

Cover: A member of the legion wearing a face mask as a preventive measure, during the covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Carlos Gil / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)