Summary of News Reports on SARS Epidemic: The Spread of SARS in China Is Still Out of Control
(Clearwisdom.net -- Summary of News) The spread of the SARS virus is still out of control, and it has reached near the top of the Chinese ruling hierarchy. Because of the severe outbreak of SARS epidemic in China, many countries started barring Chinese citizens from entering their territory. A spokesperson from the World Health Organization expressed that China's next 20 weeks would have a considerable impact on both China and the entire world.
SARS Reaches Near the Top of the Chinese Ruling Hierarchy
According to a New York Times report on April 29, SARS even passed through the heavily guarded gates of Zhongnanhai, the exclusive leadership compound in the heart of the capital, infecting a maid who works for the widow of Chen Yun, family friends said.
The report pointed out that as early as late March, leaders discovered that wealth and privilege were no guarantee of immunity from the SARS virus. It was then that Zhu Hong, the deputy director of the department of trade and international affairs in the Commerce Ministry, took ill a few days after returning from a visit to Thailand.
According to New York Times, the authorities have also quarantined top executives and ministers who worked near people who contracted SARS, say people within the government-owned companies and the ministries that were affected.
The ability of SARS to touch members of China's cloistered elite, China experts say, may explain in part why the government abruptly fired two senior officials associated with an early cover-up of the disease and began an aggressive national battle to contain it by canceling a national holiday; closing schools, entertainment venues and stock markets; and quarantining thousands of people.
The report pointed out that unlike previous epidemics, like the continuing AIDS crisis in rural China in which as many as two million people have become infected with HIV, the government has mobilized a full array of political, economic and even military resources to combat SARS.
A few Chinese and foreign media confirmed that Jiang and his son left Beijing where the epidemic is getting worse before the end of April and made an appearance in Shanghai.
SARS Is Most Prevalent in China
According to VOA report on May 1, SARS is running rampant in China, and many countries have issued travel advisories against going to China. Some countries even refuse to accept tourists coming from China. These countries include both big countries and small ones, both developing countries and developed countries.
Currently, countries barring Chinese citizens from entering include: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Yemen and Sudan. Countries that have stopped issuing visas to Chinese citizens include: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Panama, and Malta. The seashore and border area in Russia also forbids tourists from Beijing, Guangdong, Shanxi and Sichuan from entering. About 50 countries and areas, including San Francisco, Canada and Argentina, routinely examine those who arrive from China, requesting up to date health reports. Brunei and Vietnam also stopped issuing tourist visas to Chinese citizens.
WHO Says China Key to Halting SARS
The situation of spread and prevention of SARS in China is not only the concerned of many countries in the world, but it has also become the focus of attention by the World Health Organization. WHO said that it looked like Mainland China was currently the only country in which the SARS virus continued to rampantly spread. WHO spokesperson Thompson said that China's next 20 weeks with the SARS epidemic will have considerable impact on both China and the entire world.
China's Cheating Tactics Second to None
Open Magazine published a Chinese language article in its May issue entitled, "Covering up the Epidemic". The author is a medical staff member in Beijing with inside information. The author pointed out, according to the Chinese epidemic regulations, any kind of suspected epidemic must be reported to higher authorities within 6 to 12 hours. However, the Chinese government withheld information about the SARS outbreak for as long as 6 months. This is not the first instance of this kind of behavior. It has become a common occurrence for the Chinese government to conceal an epidemic.
The article said, this time, SARS spread in metropolises, which made it hard for the government to fool the common people. But most epidemics spread in China's rural area, especially those impoverished areas. For example, countrymen who live in the villages inflected with AIDS can do nothing but be manipulated by the government.
The spread of SARS and reactions from all levels of the Chinese government showed that most Chinese government officials are not truly concerned about the people. They don't hesitate to sacrifice people's lives to meet their own career goals and to further their "political achievements." A health official from a county in Henan Province was even brazen enough to say the following words when he mentioned the Henan AIDS village, "When all of these people die, the problem will be solved."
There is no press freedom in China. The epidemic is just like corruption, sealed up in a black box. In China, many of those who speak as experts are not real experts. True experts have been excluded through different excuses because they persist in upholding the truth.
This Is Not the First Time That Chinese Government Concealed an Epidemic
The article in Open Magazine said this was not the first time that the Chinese government concealed information of an epidemic and missed the chance to control the spread of the virus. A few years ago, when the first group of AIDS cases due to blood-transfusion were found in Henan Province, to secure Beijing's "stability" during the People's Congress, information was kept from the public. The information withholding lasted for a few years, which caused AIDS cases to spread to many provinces in mid-China and a number of "AIDS villages" appeared. WHO estimated that over one million people in China were infected with AIDS.
In fact, it is quite common that epidemics spread in local areas are not reported. It is well known in the Chinese Health Department that the number of cases for a certain epidemic is allotted for an area: the Chinese Health Department has a pointer towards the control of a certain disease. For example, the incidence of disease can not exceed 20 out of 100 thousand. For an area with only 100 thousand people, no more than 20 cases can be reported. The excess cases have to be "disappeared" and would not be reflected in official epidemic reports.
The Open Magazine article further pointed out, from the current crisis, we can learn some lessons. First, China's statistical data is unreliable. The number of confirmed SARS cases or the supposed eight percent economic growth rate are not credible. Secondly, the Chinese bureaucracy usually is unable to deal with a sudden outbreak crisis. Thirdly, according to the Party's traditions, a problem can only be talked about after it is announced to have been solved.