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Posts Tagged ‘coronavirus’

French state-owned international television supports Mr. Fangbin in Wuhan

February 16th, 2020 1 comment

Yesterday 15/2-20 «France 24» news network, showed a video about Mr. Fangbin in Wuhan, who was interrogated by the police, after he had entered hospital areas and filmed patients and alleged body bags, and also posted his videos on Chinese social media platforms. (The videos were also posted by Jennifer Zeng @jenniferatntd at Twitter).
The videos are badly made and actually it’s just a stupid story, but France 24 has made it into a human rights issue, and also talks about all the support Mr. Fangbin has got on the internet. See his videos and France 24’s article at https://observers.france24.com/en/20200207-china-wuhan-coronavirus-Fangbin-shopkeeper-censorship-videos

One of France 24’s sources is an US-based group called «Chinese Human Rights Defender». And what sort of group is that? «Radio Free Asia» (Washington, D.C.) wrote in 2018 the following about their work: «Advocacy group China Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) and a partner NGO, Equal Rights Initiative, said Friday that in the southern XUAR alone some 660,000 rural residents of Uyghur ethnicity may have been detained in the camps, while another up to 1.3 million may have been forced to attend mandatory day or evening re-education sessions in their villages or town centers.»
https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/millions-08032018142025.html
From this one can see that «Radio Free Asia» surprisingly is using a tiny and almost unknown organization, called Chinese Human Rights Defenders, as a reliable source on Xinjiang.

The staff at Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) are «International Director» Renee Xia (Mandarin, English), +1 863 866 1012 (+1 is USA and 863 is Florida area code), and Frances Eve (English), +1 661 240 9177 (which is in California; Twitter: FrancesEveCHRD). At their website no street address is given, but a post-box: PO Box 1905. Washington, DC 20013 USA.

One may wonder who takes care of their postbox, since none of the two lives in Washington DC? Ajit Singh and Ben Norton at Grayzone has checked the US tax forms of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, and found rather shockingly that: «On its tax forms, CHRD lists its address as the Washington, DC office of Human Rights Watch.» https://grayzoneproject.com/2018/08/23/un-did-not-report-china-internment-camps-uighur-muslims/amp/

At the web-site of Chinese Human Rights Defenders they write about their mission: «CHRD operates a small emergency grants program which provides legal aid and emergency assistance to victims of human rights abuses.» https://www.nchrd.org/about-chinese-human-rights-defenders

Since such a small organization also is able to «empower grassroots activism in China», as they write, they need funding, and a list at Hidden Harmonies, https://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2018/09/03/the-national-endowment-for-democracy-and-china/ shows that in 2017 Chinese Human Rights Defenders probably got $672,000 from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)! (The donations at NED’s web-site are called «Assistance for Human Rights Defenders: $272,000, «Capacity Building for Human Rights Defenders: $300,000», «Defending and Assisting Rights Defenders: $60,000», and «Humanitarian Assistance for Human Rights Defenders: $40,000»)

$672,000 was in 2017 around 4,5 million yuan – a huge sum in China, and CHRD has likely used parts of these money to fund opposition activists and anti-government projects inside China.

Sadly state-owned «France 24» television – with millions of viewers, is willing – without any reservation, to use this obvious anti-China group as a reliable source about what’s going on in Wuhan. That is journalism at a low level.

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Dr. Li’s Death in Wuhan and certain people’s outcry over his death

February 9th, 2020 3 comments

Nathan Rich has been putting out many incredible commentaries on China on Youtube for the last few years. And this most recent one on Dr. Li’s death certainly ranks among the best commentaries I have seen in English (or Chinese even) on Dr. Li’s death in Wuhan.

Dr. Li was one of the earliest doctors to notice a SARs like virus going around in Wuhan and had “tweeted” about it on his Weibo account. Local government officials would sanction him about it – asking him to sign some papers admitting what he did was wrong and not to do it again. Later when a concurrent government investigation revealed that a new virus was truly going around, the government retracted his sanctions. Dr. Li would go on to work on the front lines … but later – just a few days ago – die from the virus.

Some people have gone anti-government over this. In the Youtube commentary, Nathan Rich noted that he can understand how people thought Dr. Li was a “hero” and that the government has erred, however he also noted that the most critical thing now is to save lives and go forward, and not distract from the government’s valiant efforts. He posited for those who are angry: even had people listen to Dr. Li’s original (then unsubstantiated) claims, would we really be better off?

Yes, more people might have more masks in the initial days and more might have been more diligent about washing hands, etc. But almost certainly, judging by people’s behavior since the Wuhan quarantine, people would have fled Wuhan and tried to cover up the fact that they might be virus carriers. So, while, on a personal level, leaving town would have been the “human” thing to do, it most certainly would been the worst thing to do in terms of saving lives and reducing the spread of the virus.

Would we be better off today had people listened to Dr. Li (and others’) initial warnings … or much worse off?

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An Outbreak of Sinophobia and Schadenfreude in the West

February 4th, 2020 4 comments

[A redacted and edited version of this article was published in the China Daily]

Nowhere is man freer than on the field of battle, where it is a matter of life and death, wrote Leo Tolstoy in War and Peace. One way of determining people’s morality is by observing their reactions during a crisis.

Western audiences have offered three types of reactions to the recent virus outbreak in China: Sympathy, Sinophobia, and Schadenfreude. Sane westerners, one hopes, empathized with the victims, wishing the outbreak ends soon. Racists took advantage of it to indulge in stereotypes and memes. The third category, the western media, was delighted with the opportunity to insult the Chinese government.

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Don’t buy in the Coronavirus hype.

January 28th, 2020 4 comments

Right now many Chinese cities are on the lock down and at the epicenter of this outbreak at Wuhan people could not come in and leave the city. While I agree that there should be some preventative measures to stop this virus from spreading like cancelling public events, shutting down the city by shutting down transportation and schools are excessive.

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-new-coronavirus-what-we-do-and-dont-know-2020012518747

Let’s step back to what is a coronavirus. According to this Harvard article:

Coronaviruses are an extremely common cause of colds and other upper respiratory infections. These viruses are zoonoses, which means they can infect certain animals and spread from one animal to another. A coronavirus can potentially spread to humans, particularly if certain mutations in the virus occur.

So yes, coronaviruses are common cold virus but this is a particular new strain which started in Wuhan. The problem with this virus is that many people who gotten this virus don’t show much symptoms and could be carrying the virus for days before we get sick. But to think about it, people don’t usually get really sick from the common cold either. For all we know, that this virus has spread far and wide already without knowing about it.

We also have to think about how many people who are infected vs the number people who actually died from this virus.

https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-01-24/china-coronavirus-panic

https://www.livescience.com/56598-deadliest-viruses-on-earth.html

The Latest data is 4474 infected and 107 dead. That’s little more than 2%. To put that in perspective, many other viruses such as Ebola and smallpox outbreaks has been more higher mortality rates than this coronavirus. Heck, the common flu killed hundreds of thousands every year and there is no pandemic for this.

To put in perspective of the last coronavirus, SARS, I believe that this was also overblown. This virus eventually faded away because people had overcome and developed an immunity for this virus. This will happen to this coronavirus.

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