(Clearwisdom.net) In an April 21st report, a special dispatch by Central News Agency journalist Zhou Huiying from Beijing reported that the Chinese Health Ministry updated the number of SARS cases today, increasing them from around 1,400 two days ago to more than 1,800. The number of cases in Beijing grew tenfold. Because the ruling Party officials previously concealed the truth of the virus, the foreign media in Beijing no longer trust the government statistics. Reporters asked the Ministry of Health, "Why should we believe you?"

The Ministry of Health published the situation of SARS only in early April 2003, although the first breakout took place in Guangdong Province in late 2002. The government claimed, "The situation is effectively under control." What the people say differs quite a lot from the government's claims. In addition to the foreign media and WHO experts exposing conditions in the military hospitals in China that were hiding SARS patients, the international community is not willing to believe the official reports from the Chinese government.

Under pressure from the international community, the Ministry of Health published updates on the virus today, and admitted in a press conference that the statistics, surveillance and tracking system in China in related departments is incomplete, justifying their stand that this led to mistakes in the accuracy of the number of reported cases.

In fact, other than statistics, the government officials' attitude is the main reason to hide the truth. For example, the health official in charge lied numerous times in the past month, although he knew Pekka Aro, a senior International Labor Organization official was sent to the Ditan Hospital in Beijing because he contracted SARS. The minister blatantly and publicly claimed, "it's safe for foreigners to work and travel in China" although he clearly knew there were SARS patients in the military hospitals who had not been reported. He said the statistics included military hospitals.

What is more, when WHO officials recently visited military hospitals in China, including the No. 309 Hospital, the hospital officials temporarily moved patients elsewhere-other hospitals or hotels, to deceive the WHO inspectors. The world was shocked when news about this deception came to light.

Although the government claims today's data includes military hospital patients, a journalist from the Australian Broadcast Corporation condemned Gao Qiang, deputy minister of health, saying since there were so many lies told, what reason was there for the world to believe the words of the Chinese Ministry of Health?

After telling too many lies, the Chinese government fails to gain the international community's trust. From now on, if the government wants to convince others, there is nothing else to do except to be honest. The government spokespersons said beginning tomorrow, the situation of the disease will be updated and announced daily. The foreign media are trying to adopt a "wait and see" attitude, to find out whether the government officials will change their modus operandi, accept the good advice readily and provide the truth.

April 20, 2003