2003 June 01 Sunday
Chinese Government Now Denying It Lied About SARS

The political winds can shift suddenly in China. With the rate of new cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) down an order of magnitude in the last month the Chinese regime feels emboldened to deny the obvious cover-up it conducted for months.

BEIJING, May 30 -- In a significant shift of tone, the Chinese government today dismissed criticism that it was slow to respond to the SARS crisis, denying it tried to hide the outbreak, refusing to praise the doctor who exposed the coverup and asserting that it had warned the world about the virus in early February.

SARS is not going to serve as a catalyst for liberalizing reforms in China. Things there are now going to return to business as usual.

This latest shift marks yet another turn for the Chinese portrayal of Jiang Yanyong, the retired Beijing military doctor who first blew the whistle on the SARS cases hidden in military hospitals in Beijing. Just a couple of weeks ago CNN Senior China Analyst Willy Wo-Lap Lam pointed out that the official Chinese media interviewed Jiang Yanyong and the interviewer made it a point to praise him.

Take, for example, the semi-official China News Service's (CNS) intriguing interview with whistle blower Dr. Jiang Yanyong last Thursday, which goes beyond official recognition of his contribution to fighting severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

One can only hope for the sake of this elderly doctor that the regime decides to forget about him rather than to exact some sort of revenge in order to make a point to would-be whistleblowers in the future.

Update: See this story on Jiang from the May 21 2003 People's Daily official press where he is referred to as "The first doctor to blow the whistle on the mis-reporting of SARS endemic in China".

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 June 01 11:20 PM  Culture Open Versus Closed Societies


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