WION Edit: Coronavirus has unveiled China's ugliest face

Delhi Feb 11, 2020, 05.33 PM(IST) Written By: WION

Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

China is losing not just lives to coronavirus, but also its credentials as an economic superpower. 

China calls itself an emerging superpower, but the dragon is losing to a virus. China is losing not just lives to coronavirus, but also its credentials as an economic superpower. 

The pandemic is exposing china's weaknesses and the cracks it tries to paper over. Furthermore, Beijing refuses to concede that it needs help.

China did try and cover up the extent of this crisis. A report in the New England Journal of Medicine presents a smoking gun conclusive evidence of a cover-up. It says that healthcare workers were infected in early January.

This is clear evidence that the coronavirus existed well before China admitted. There was also evidence that the virus transmits from one human to another, but the public was kept in the dark.


The first reports came out on January 18. And, by then - it was too late. Chinese politicians downplayed the challenge and doctors who tried to raise an alarm were silenced. 

Cases cropped up across China and eventually spread across the world. In recent weeks, China has escalated its response. More money was pumped in. In almost a week's time, Wuhan had a new hospital. 

The state media began publishing stories of China's resilience. The Twitter onslaught against the critics has been unrelenting. 

But the coronavirus war is not meant to be fought on social media. It is taking lives, and hence, the medical response has to be sharp.

More than a month after the outbreak, China still cannot get its priorities straight. China's top anti-corruption body is sending a team to Wuhan. The anti-corruption team will be conducting a probe into the death of the whistleblower doctor - Li Wenliang, which appears to be a pretend investigation to silence the critics.

China is going after journalists as well. Beijing has demanded a public apology from the Wall Street Journal for carrying an anti-China article. A citizen journalist -  Chen Qiushi - who was reporting on coronavirus has gone missing. He was the world's eyes and ears in China.

He posted videos of corpses in a hospital and filmed the dramatic moment when people in hazmat suits broke down his apartment door to take him into quarantine. He has been missing since.

It's not just the messengers who face the wrath of the state, but the patients too. The government has unleashed a wave of harsh measures to target those infected. China has ruled that people will face the death penalty if they deliberately infect others. 

One county in the Hebei province is offering $140 to those who report potential cases. They want local residents to report which citizen was in Wuhan recently.

Reports say residents are being locked up inside their own homes and those who try to protect their loved ones are being detained.

China has ordered a draconian response to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. But it's not necessarily helping, it's a cruel and chaotic response.

Untrained doctors, military guards, homes turned into lock-ups, neighbours reporting on you and the government punishing you rather than treating you for the deadly disease.

(Disclaimer: WION Edit is the channel's take on the big events of the world)