(Minghui.org) On January 22, 2023, Chinese New Year’s day, Wuhan (where the COVID-19 virus originated) in Hebei Province became a flower city. In one video, a woman exclaimed, “Oh, my! There are chrysanthemum flowers everywhere!”

The chrysanthemum is a popular flower in China, often used to mourn the dead.

The CCP’s Version of a “Spending Spree”

The day before the Chinese New Year, an AFP reporter saw many Wuhan residents rushing to flower stores. Zhang, arms full of flowers, said quite a few of his relatives and friends had died recently. “On Chinese New Year Day, we have a tradition of visiting those families who have lost loved ones with incense and flowers.”

Tao, a flower vendor, agreed. “Many people have died of COVID in recent years, so chrysanthemums sell very well,” she explained. This year in particular, she had more customers than usual, which forced her to work really hard on Chinese New Year’s Eve. 

Vendors like Tao were well prepared this time because the flowers were sold out around the 2021 Chinese New Year. This time, local news media controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) dubbed the massive flower purchases a “spending spree” or “retaliatory consumption.” This designation invited condemnation from netizens. “Our CCP media have no conscience. People are mourning the dead and rushing to buy chrysanthemum flowers,” a netizen wrote, “but the Party used it as propaganda to deceive others.”

Han Xiu (Teresa Buczacki), an American writer who lived in China for decades, recently talked about the COVID situation in China during an interview with Fangfei Time. In mid-December 2022, a friend in Wuhan with access to inside information told her through an encrypted message that two-thirds of Wuhan residents had been infected and a quarter had died. 

Behind the Lifted Zero-COVID Policy

Many people believed that the sharp increase in infections was triggered by the end of the zero-COVID policy. As a matter of fact, it was the other way around. A large number of cases emerged since mid-October 2022 and the situation was getting out of control. The CCP had no way but to abruptly end the zero-COVID policy on December 7.

Minghui has reported earlier that Chaoyang District in Beijing was already considered a high-risk region back in mid-October 2022. Similar situations happened in other areas. A wedding ceremony that took place in Qingdao City, Shandong Province, on October 30, 2022 resulted in many positive cases. The groom worked in law enforcement and the bride in the education system. Both of their parents were well-to-do and had a lot of connections. Infections associated with this event were thus not reported. 

Other cities in Shandong Province experienced surging cases as well, such as Jinan, Liaocheng and Linyi. Among them, a large infection incident broke out at Jimo Costume Market in Qingdao on November 21. Officials again blocked the information and only reported one positive case. Although the situation was serious – the worst in the three-year pandemic, officials refused to publicize it to ordinary citizens. Nonetheless, the Shandong Government announced on November 29 that they would invest 23 billion yuan to build 119 Fangcang makeshift hospitals that could accommodate a total of 200,000 people. 

But the wind shifted quickly under the rule of the totalitarian CCP regime. On December 5, the government-controlled media called for a full opening-up, since the disease was “mild.” The zero-COVID policy officially ended two days later. 

In Guilin City, Guangxi Province, newly infected patients had quickly filled up the Fangcang Hospitals in the region as of November 23, 2022. Additional patients were sent to Yangshuo and other places for quarantine. As more cases were identified in Diecai, Xiufeng, Xiangshan, and other areas in the region, local governments issued an order to cancel schools – stealthily. Instead of sending out written notices, school officials instructed teachers to orally notify students of the decision by phone. To avoid leaving evidence, the announcement was not to mention “school closing;” rather, it was called “at home health evaluation.” 

Alarmingly High Death Rate

Gu Bei, a writer in Shanghai, wrote on social media Weibo that she had to wait nearly two weeks to have her mother’s body cremated. The funeral home has not scheduled a funeral ceremony yet due to the long waiting list. 

Both large and small hospitals were overwhelmed with patients in the past month and medical staff had to report to work even if they had been infected themselves. The large number of deaths also overburdened funeral homes and crematories. In the countryside, new graves emerged as the bodies were buried. So far, 30 members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering have died, accounting for 1.7% of their total members. The deceased members had access to the best healthcare, yet medicine could not save them. One can imagine what would happen to less privileged citizens who often cannot afford or have no access to healthcare. 

Netizen Li grew up in a remote county in Jiangxi Province. When visiting his hometown recently, he met an old neighbor Long (pseudonym). Long is a deputy director responsible for COVID testing, treatment, and prevention in the county. During their conversation, Li mentioned the National Health Commission’s published data showed 59,938 deaths nationwide between December 8, 2022 and January 12, 2023. Long became very emotional and yelled, “Lies! They are all lies!”

Long said in the past, there were only 10 to 15 COVID deaths a day in hospitals, but now it was about 60-70 a day. “Between December 8, 2022 and January 12, 2023, COVID deaths in our county hospitals have exceeded 2,000. So there should be millions of deaths nationwide [with nearly 3,000 county-level jurisdictions]. How could there just be 59,938 deaths?!” The actual deaths could be much higher since many people do not have the “connections” to be admitted to hospitals even in the country’s urban areas, let alone the within vast countryside population. 

Long also said the CCP did not care about people’s lives at all, leaving lower-level officials helpless. One truck driver who transported fuel for the county crematory used to deliver diesel once every several days, but now even daily deliveries has not been enough. Another official Li knew of said her information showed about 10,000 people had died in the country, including those who were not hospitalized. 

As the death numbers increased, the demand for coffins also shot up. One netizen in Shanxi Province said that all coffin manufacturers were struggling to meet the demand. People often had to wait for days to purchase a coffin. Some paid extra to the workers to speed up the production. But now, few workers even care to get extra pay because their workload is already too heavy. 

Risks of Siding with the CCP

Many members and followers of the CCP have recently lost their lives. Fu Ning, film and television screenwriter and director, died at 55 in Beijing on January 23, 2023. He has produced many pro-CCP programs for the state-run CCTV. Several other pro-CCP entertainers have also met with similar fates, including Chen Chan (director of Shanghai Film Studio), Wang Jingguang (54, film director), and Wei Lian (a renowned director at Bayi Film Studio of the army who produced many films to brainwash Chinese citizens). 

The School of Mathematical Sciences in Peking University also published five obituaries between December 7, 2022 and January 5, 2023, including Wang Zhenjia (former Party Secretary of the School and later Vice President of the university, who died on December 27), and Huang Denghang (former deputy Party Secretary of the school, who died on December 14). 

The London-based data firm Airfinity predicted that COVID would peak in China on January 13 with another wave on March 3, reported The Economist in its January 19 article titled “Covid-19 has already torn through large swathes of China: But a second wave could be more deadly.”

When visiting Weiji Village in Henan Province, the reporter from The Economist was told that 90% of local residents had been infected and that the real death toll was much higher than officially announced. Even if the infection had peaked, the situation could become worse with continued deaths, the article stated.