What breeds the culture of cover-ups in China?

Edited By: Palki Sharma WION
Delhi Published: Jun 23, 2020, 09:45 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in China Photograph:( Reuters )

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There's a tendency to hide the damage because local governments and officials are judged on the basis of how much good press they generate

Ever since the clash on June 15 at the Galwan Valley between the Indian and Chinese troops, Beijing has consistently declined to reveal the details of the casualties on its side, while various reports suggest that China suffered more casualties.

China covered-up about the Wuhan virus death toll as well. Coronavirus cases in China stand at 3869 at the moment, however, estimates say tens of thousands of people have died.

 

In 2012, China underreported deaths during a flood. The real figures came out in 2017 when two municipal governments in northeastern China admitted that they hid dozens of deaths.

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 A similar story played out during the SARS outbreak. In April 2003, China's health minister initially said there were only 22 cases of SARS. Ten days later, his deputy said there were more than 300 confirmed cases and more than 400 suspected cases. The health minister was fired following the revelation.

A month later China reported more than 5000 cases and 275 deaths while a doctor who exposed the government's SARS coverup was put under house arrest.

The list of cover-ups is a long one. There's a tendency to hide the damage because local governments and officials are judged on the basis of how much good press they generate. Large numbers of casualties in natural disasters or accidents hurt the career prospects of local officials, so they tend to under-report or hide figures which breeds a culture of cover-ups.

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