Coronavirus death toll: Is China reporting the right numbers?

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 23, 2020, 10.35 PM(IST)

President Xi Jinping wearing a mask visits hospital in Wuhan Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

A Chinese activist has shared that china mobile lost more than eight million users in January and February.

America and China are playing a rather ugly blame game at the moment. The Trump administration is demanding transparency from Beijing.

They want China to report the right numbers and disclose what they know. 

Also read: British writer Pat Condell slams China on Coronavirus, calls it enemy of humanity

A Chinese activist has shared that china mobile lost more than eight million users in January and February.

Where did they go?

China mobile is the largest telecom company in China. It is state-owned. Losing more than eight million customers is unprecedented.

Also read: Florida sues China for 'covering up' coronavirus pandemic

Netizens tracking this story have a theory. They say economic numbers from Beijing cannot be trusted.

So, they track data like mobile users and electrical consumption to make an assessment.

A twitter user says that the world needs to do the same if they want to track the coronavirus deaths.

The fact is, all telecom companies in china have lost users. A whopping 21 million users who were active before the outbreak — have disconnected.

Does this mean millions died due to the Wuhan virus in China?

No one can confirm this theory for now. A report in Bloomberg offers some clues. It says growth has dropped to record lows. Factories and businesses were shut due to the outbreak.

Migrant workers, who operated two connections — simply stopped using their work phones and disconnected.

One secretly shot video posted on Twitter shows 8 dead bodies in 5 minutes.

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There could be several cases that are undocumented. An article in the journal "science" claims that 86 per cent of cases in Hubei were undocumented at the time of the lockdown.

Wuhan is located inside Hubei. There is another reason why we should not trust china's number.

Beijing has a track record of fudging it. Especially when it comes to economic numbers.

It is a well-known fact that Chinese officials are rewarded with promotions and bonuses — if their provinces or cities do well on certain metrics like the GDP, investment and revenues.

To achieve targets, some officials fudge the numbers. So, a cover-up is possible in the case of the coronavirus too.