National China News

Fox News
Date: March 31, 2020
By: Louis Casiano | Fox News

China's COVID-19 death toll in Wuhan seems false to locals

Funeral homes that serve Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, have been handing out the cremated remains of about 500 people to their families every day. However, residents say those numbers put the 2,500 death toll the Chinese government has claimed into question.

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Months after the coronavirus began to surface in China, the outbreak has spread across the world, killing thousands and prompting governments to enact unprecedented containment measures.

Beijing says it's slowly beginning to emerge from the crisis that originated on its soil, while putting its propaganda machine to work to craft a favorable narrative. Weeks after announcing the outbreak, some governments — particularly the United States — are accusing China of purposely failing to inform the public, thereby exacerbating the crisis.

A Chinese doctor who has since died of the virus tried sounding alarms during its early stages. Li Wenliang — who worked in a Wuhan hospital and has since been hailed as a hero —  was detained with eight other doctors for posting information about patients with respiratory problems on WeChat, a Chinese messaging platform.

Authorities claimed the doctors were spreading "unverified information" as reason for their detention. Other doctors were reprimanded and told to stop posting online about the virus. Li was released after signing a document admitting he committed "illegal acts."

He eventually contracted the virus and died in February.

“If society had at the time believed those ‘rumors,’ and wore masks, used disinfectant and avoided going to the wildlife market as if there were a SARS outbreak, perhaps it would’ve meant we could better control the coronavirus today,” the Supreme People’s Court said of Li's detention. “Rumors end when there is openness.”    [FULL  STORY]

Trump administration officials are discussing taking action after China said it would expel almost all American journalists for The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

The New York Times
 March 26, 2020
By:  Edward Wong and Julian E. Barnes

A Foreign Ministry briefing last week in Beijing. At least 13 American journalists stand to be expelled from China.Credit…Andy Wong/Associated Press


WASHINGTON — As China moves forward with expelling almost all American journalists from three major American newspapers, Trump administration officials have intensified discussions over whether to evict employees of Chinese media outlets who they say mainly act as spies.

The action is under consideration because some U.S. officials want to retaliate against China in a new conflict that has revolved around news organizations and is being fueled by hostility over the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the virus began spreading across the United States, Washington and Beijing have waged a global information war over the outbreak. President Trump and his aides are trying to pin responsibility on China, where Communist Party officials initially covered up the dangers of the virus as it was first discovered. Mr. Trump, though, has been criticized for vast failures in the American response.

Some American intelligence officials have pushed for years to expel employees of Chinese media organizations who they say mainly file intelligence reports. The officials now see an opening to make a strong case after Beijing abruptly announced this month that it would expel almost all American citizens who report from mainland China for The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.    [FULL  STORY]

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Yahoo News
Date: March 7, 2020
By: March 7, 2020

Dozens have so far been rescued from the rubble of the 80-room Xinjia hotel in Quanzhou city (AFP Photo/STR)

More than 40 people have been rescued following the collapse of a hotel used as a coronavirus quarantine facility in eastern China on Saturday, state media reported.

Officials said around 70 people were initially trapped when the building first crumbled.

Footage circulating on microblogging platform Weibo showed rescue workers combing through the rubble of the 80-room Xinjia hotel in coastal Quanzhou city in the dark as they reassured a woman trapped under heavy debris and carried wounded victims into ambulances.

A total of 43 people have so far been rescued from the wreckage, state news agency Xinhua said.    [FULL  STORY]

Wuhan residents shout 'fake, fake, everything is fake' at China's vice premier while inspecting quarantined community

Taiwan News
Date}: 2020/03/06
By: Keoni Everington, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Sun Chunlan (front, center). (WeChat video screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Video has surfaced appearing to show Wuhan residents shout "everything is fake" at Communist China's Vice Premier Sun Chunlan (孫春蘭), as she toured the quarantined community at the epicenter of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on Thursday (March 5).

On Thursday, Sun, vice premier of the State Council, led members of the Central Steering Group on an official inspection tour of epidemic prevention efforts by residents in the Wuhan Kaiyuan Mansion Community in Wuhan's Qingshan District, reported Xinhua News. However, frustrated, quarantined residents soon began loudly shouting at Sun and her entourage from their high-rise apartment windows.

In videos of the incident that quickly surfaced online that afternoon, male and female residents can be heard shouting in both the Wuhan dialect and standard Mandarin, "Fake! Fake! Fake!" and, "Everything is fake!" Others said things like, "They are taking advantage of the people to put on a show," "The real estate management office has concocted this scene," and "formalism" (形式主義, basically, appearance rather than content).

One resident shooting video was surprised that people would so boldly shout such criticism at a high-level Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official. Another resident who captured the scene on camera giggled with glee.   [FULL  STORY]

Fox News
Date: Feb 27, 2020
By: Samuel Chamberlain

Ed. Note: This article is adapted from Fox Nation's six-part series "The Unauthorized History of Socialism," hosted by Bret Baier)

In early 1958, Mao Zedong, the leader of Communist China, announced a new economic experiment meant to catapult his country ahead of the West in both agriculture and industry.

By the time the Great Leap Forward ended four years later, millions were dead and the Chinese economy was in tatters.

At the core of the Great Leap Forward were more than 23,000 people's communes housing more than 500 million people. Mao, who had taken control of China in 1949, believed that by mobilizing that vast labor pool, he could remake his agrarian country into a fully communist society.

"He [Mao] became disillusioned with the Soviet model and he thought he could improve upon it and bring communism overnight," says historian Merle Goldman. "He was truly a utopian thinker."

But Mao's frenzied commitment to the Great Leap Forward led only to impossibly high production quotas and inferior products.

"One way he thought of speeding up the agriculture growth was to plant [crops] more densely,” says Barnard College political science professor Xiaobo Lü. “And that’s scientifically irrational, that did not really increase the production. Very soon in 1959, there was also some drought [and] floods. So natural disaster plus this human policy and that became a killer combo."    [FULL  STORY]

The New York Post
Date: February 19, 2020
By: Post Editorial Board

AFP via Getty Images

Kudos to Team Trump for calling out some of China’s US-based media outlets for what they essentially are: state-sponsored propaganda.

On Tuesday, the State Department announced that the US operations of five Chinese entities — Xinhua News Agency, China Radio International, China Global Television Network and the distributors of China Daily and People’s Daily — will now be considered foreign missions.

That means that, effective immediately, the agencies are covered by the Foreign Missions Act of 1982, which requires them to report all personnel to the State Department and register any property holdings.

This should give the feds a better a grasp of Beijing’s operations (espionage as well as propaganda) and allow more effective counteraction.

The move is “long overdue,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “For years, these so-called media outlets have been mouthpieces of the Chinese Communist Party, and these Chinese outlets are becoming more aggressive.”    [FULL  STORY]

China’s Foreign Ministry says move was punishment for a recent opinion piece published by the Journal

The Wall  Street Journal
Date: Feb. 19, 2020


China revoked the press credentials of three Wall Street Journal reporters based in Beijing, the first time the Chinese government has expelled multiple journalists simultaneously from one international news organization since the country began re-engaging with the world in the post-Mao era.

China’s Foreign Ministry said the move Wednesday was punishment for a recent opinion piece published by the Journal.

Deputy Bureau Chief Josh Chin and reporter Chao Deng, both U.S. nationals, as well as reporter Philip Wen, an Australian national, were ordered to leave the country within five days, said Jonathan Cheng, the Journal’s China bureau chief.

The expulsions by China’s Foreign Ministry followed widespread public anger at the headline on the Feb. 3 opinion piece, which referred to China as “the real sick man of Asia.” The ministry and state-media outlets had repeatedly called attention to the headline in statements and posts on social media and had threatened unspecified consequences.

“Regrettably, what the WSJ has done so far is nothing but parrying and dodging its responsibility,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily news briefing Wednesday. “The Chinese people do not welcome those media that speak racially discriminatory language and maliciously slander and attack China.”

The three journalists work for the Journal’s news operation. The Journal operates with a strict separation between its news and opinion staffs.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/02/01
By:  Associated Press

(AP photo)

BOSTON (AP) — A Harvard University professor charged with lying about his role in a Chinese talent recruitment program was released from custody Thursday and ordered to post a $1 million cash bond.

Charles Lieber appeared in Boston's federal court wearing orange jail garb and chains around his ankles two days after his arrest at his Ivy League university office, where he was chair of the chemistry and chemical biology department.

Lieber is accused of lying about his participation in China's Thousand Talents Plan, which targets overseas scientists and researchers willing to bring their expertise to China in exchange for things like research funding and lab space.

Prosecutors had proposed setting bond at $1.5 million secured by Lieber's suburban Boston home. But Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler instead ordered Lieber to post a $1 million cash bond by next Thursday.

Lieber did not comment as he left the courthouse with his wife amid a throng of reporters after the hearing. His lawyers also declined to comment.

Lieber is required to give up his passport and disclose any foreign bank accounts and is barred from talking to any potential victims or witnesses in the case, among other restrictions. His wife will also hand over her passport after prosecutors raised concerns that she could move cash to another country.    [FULL  STORY]

Response to crisis exposes disadvantages of Xi Jinping’s highly centralised administration 1

Financial Times
Date: Jan 29, 2020
By: Christian Shepherd in Beijing and Sue-Lin Wong in Shenzhen

Xi Jinping has centralised power more than any other Communist leader of the past few decades © AP

When the mayor of Wuhan was asked on China’s state broadcaster why he had not disclosed the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in his city, he replied that his hands were tied by laws that required him to seek authorisation from Beijing.

“I hope everyone can understand why there wasn’t timely disclosure,” Zhou Xianwang said in the unusually frank interview this week. “After I received information, I needed authorisation before making it public,” he explained.

In a country that insists on political unity, the interview stands as a rare example of stresses between central and local government breaking into the open, as China’s response to the deadly respiratory virus becomes one of the biggest challenges to Xi Jinping’s presidency since he took power in 2012.

While the first cases of workers and shoppers contracting pneumonia in a market in the Chinese city emerged in early December, Beijing waited several weeks before issuing orders to curb the virus’s spread. Since then, 170 people have died and at least 7,711 have been infected.   [FULL  STORY]