German News Media: The CCP’s Unreported Cases, Contradictory Death Tolls, and Propaganda
(Minghui.org) With more than one million confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, more and more people have turned their attention to China, whose regime’s cover-up of and misinformation about the outbreak that started in Wuhan have resulted in the virus infecting over 200 countries.
In Germany, one of the hardest hit countries, more than 81,000 have been infected and nearly 4,000 have died. Two recent German articles highlighted the responsibility of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) throughout the calamity.
Large Number of Cases Unreported
Die Welt (The World), a major German newspaper sold in about 130 countries, published an article titled, “Corona crisis: How China wants to use the pandemic for propaganda” on March 30, 2020.
“Without Beijing's cover-up, the corona pandemic would never have happened. But now the People's Republic is staging itself as a savior and starting a propaganda campaign,” began the article.
On March 19, China’s National Health Commission reported zero new locally transmitted coronavirus cases for the first time in the prior two months but counted 34 “imported infections.” This pattern of almost zero locally transmitted cases and a handful of imported cases continued in the weeks that followed, and China's total confirmed cases have remained largely the same (close to 82,000) for the past several weeks.
The Die Welt article cast doubt on China's data: “The question is whether an epidemic can be contained so radically within two months that there are virtually no new infections in a country of 1.4 billion people. Or whether China is presenting figures to the world that do not reflect reality, but rather the wishful thinking of the Communist Party.”
The Die Welt article cited a report by China’s Caixin magazine as saying that there were over a dozen of infections in Wuhan every day but that those cases remained unreported since the patients did not have symptoms.
The quoted Caixin report wrote, “It is certain that up to 85 percent of those infected with the coronavirus show no or only mild symptoms.” The Caixin report in turn cited Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) as saying that Wuhan hospitals had refused to provide treatments to some coronavirus patients.
Numbers Didn't Add Up
The Die Welt article cited another Caixin article that hinted that China's official death numbers didn't add up. The Caixinarticle said that Wuhan's funeral homes had begun to allow residents to pick up ashes of their relatives who had died of the virus and that one funeral home alone gave out 3,500 urns in one day. As the official death toll in Wuhan stood at 2,531, the Caixin article reminded the reader that this was only one of eight funeral homes in Wuhan.
The Die Welt article also cited Jeremy Wallace from Cornell University as saying that numbers play a critical role in China’s politics. “Once the central government’s propaganda mission to win the ‘people’s war’ against the virus became clear, numbers shifted to achieve that vision,” he wrote in an article for The Washington Post on March 23. “Such shifts would probably be subtle–not hundreds or thousands of hidden deaths, but instead excluding deaths that could be attributed to other types of pneumonia or heart failure, for instance.”
Warnings Ignored by WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) also played a special role in the development of the pandemic, wrote the Die Weltarticle. As medical professionals in Wuhan identified the outbreak on December 30, 2019, their efforts to raise the alarm were met with harsh punishment.
Top communist leader Xi Jinping was notified on January 7, but the Chinese CDC did not announce the epidemic until January 20, three days before 60 million people were locked down in Hubei Province.
Although not a member of the WHO, Taiwan “warned the WHO on December 31 of a possible human-to-human transmission of the novel virus.” Its warning was ignored by the agency, which also refused to answer a question related to Taiwan during an interview with RTHK while praising China for achieving “perhaps the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment in history.”
But the loss is real, and experts estimated the majority of the infections could have been avoided had China acted in time. “If the Chinese press were free, the coronavirus might not be a pandemic,” stated Reporters Without Borders on March 24.
Propaganda as a Tool to Regain Control
Although the People’s Congress remained canceled without an alternative date, Hubei lifted its lockdown on March 26. In the meantime, across government-controlled news media there are tons of articles praising Xi and the Party.
The Die Welt article wrote that on March 24 alone, People’s Daily (the CCP’s mouthpiece) had three of its seven articles on the front page singing praises of Xi. Taisu Zhang, a professor at Yale University, said the CCP did this to regain control, both domestically and internationally.
China’s efforts seemed to work for some European officials. One of them is the Italian Minster of Foreign Affairs, who posted a live video on Facebook in which he celebrated the arrival of Chinese relief goods in Italy.
The CCP has been depicting itself as a savior who helps other nations during the crisis. “Virtually every story on the front page of its foreign-facing propaganda organs advertises China’s efforts to help different countries with goods and information while underscoring the superiority of Beijing’s approach,” wrote an American magazine on March 18.
“China is everywhere, the country where the virus broke out and which is largely to blame for its global spread, could ultimately emerge stronger from the pandemic,” warned the article in Die Welt.
T-online: CCP’s Corona Propaganda
“China claims to have weathered the corona crisis. But the indications are increasing that the numbers from the country are not correct,” reported T-online, German’s largest news portal, on March 31 in an article titled “China's Corona Propaganda: The Sick System.”
“While other parts of the world are suffering from the rising numbers of infected people, China is trying to gain sovereignty over the crisis and use it internationally for power politics,” the article wrote. “The current return to everyday life in China is the caricature of a sick system that is completely subordinated to political ideology.”
Although officials claimed a death toll of 2,531 at the epicenter of Wuhan, “Some Wuhan residents estimate that the coronavirus death toll could be 26,000, based on the amount of urns being delivered and distributed across the city,” quoting the article from a March 29 Newsweek report. “Citizens on Chinese social media have said that seven Wuhan funeral homes will likely distribute 3,500 urns per day on average from March 23 to April 4, which marks Qing Ming, the traditional tomb-sweeping festival. By that estimate, 42,000 urns would be given out in the 12-day period.”
Had China reacted faster, the scale of the pandemic could have been weakened, even abroad. “But instead of admitting its own omissions or drawing consequences for the wildlife markets, the likely origin of the corona pandemic, China is now trying to exploit the crisis in terms of foreign policy,” wrote the T-online article.