lørdag 28. mars 2020

Coronavirus, a Chronology: The CCP Is Responsible, Here is the Evidence

If you need a smoking gun, here it is. A timeline of delays, cover-ups, and fake news proving that the world should indeed blame the CCP for the deadly epidemic.

CCP Uses Coronavirus as a Pretext to Hunt down Believers

China’s excessive use of technology to monitor its citizens has increased even more during the coronavirus epidemic, experts say, indicating that the CCP uses it as a pretext to accelerate the mass collection of personal data through facial recognition and other means in the name of preserving public health. Members of the banned religious groups are among the primary targets.

According to the information received by Bitter Winter, during the spread of the virus, the CCP didn’t stop arresting members of The Church of Almighty God, which is the single most persecuted religious group in China. At least 100 members in Sichuan, Fujian, and Shandong provinces have been arrested since January.

India faces up to potential coronavirus crisis, but is the country really prepared for a 21 day lockdown?

India's normally bustling streets are quiet. Delivery drivers wear gloves and face masks. Even the country's unrelenting construction has come to a halt. It's all part of India's unprecedented 21-day bid to stop the coronavirus pandemic in its tracks with a nationwide lockdown.

India is the world's second-most populous country and has the fifth-biggest economy, with trade connections all over the world. Yet despite its size, the country of 1.34 billion appears to have avoided the full hit of the pandemic. To date, India has only 492 confirmed cases of coronavirus and nine deaths. By contrast, South Korea -- which has a population only 3.8% the size of India's -- has more than 9,000 cases. China, where the outbreak was first identified, has more than 81,000 confirmed cases in a population of 1.39 billion.

China's premier warns local officials not to hide new coronavirus infections

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has warned local officials not to hide new coronavirus cases, after the country reported several days of no locally transmitted infections in a major turnaround in its fight against the deadly pandemic. Li, the country's second-in-command, urged local governments Monday to "seek truth from facts" and be "open and transparent" in releasing information on the epidemic.
"Being open and transparent means a new case must be reported once it's discovered. It is what it is. There must be no concealing or underreporting," he told senior officials tasked with battling Covid-19 during a meeting he chaired, according to an official government statement posted online Tuesday.

The Chinese premier was appointed the head of a central government task force -- or a "central leading group" as it is called -- to fight the coronavirus in January. He visited the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, back in late January, more than a month earlier than the tour by China's top leader Xi Jinping in March.

fredag 27. mars 2020

U.S. Leaves the Door to Europe Wide Open for China

The ties that bind the U.S. and Europe date back in earnest to the Second World War, when America came to the rescue of Europe both militarily and financially, setting up a partnership that would last for 75 years. But as both powers struggle with the coronavirus pandemic, their most severe crisis since the war, this relationship doesn’t look as strong as it once did.

While the U.S. keeps its focus on fighting the disease at home, China has continued offering aid to Europe, extending its influence through a mixture of soft power and propaganda. When the crisis subsides, the U.S. may find that its greatest ally has drifted further away from its sphere of influence. China is targeting in particular the EU’s worst-hit countries: Italy, Spain and Greece. They may find it impossible to resist Beijing’s help in their hour of greatest need.

Hold China accountable for the coronavirus

Communist China allowed its domestic coronavirus epidemic to become a global pandemic. It refused to provide accurate and timely information to residents at the epicenter of the outbreak in Hubei province. It denied sufficient access and information-sharing to experts from the World Health Organization. Early on, China asserted that the virus showed no indications of human-to-human transmission, giving travelers weeks to spread it to other countries before finally admitting there was a problem.

Avoiding any one of those decisions might have saved us from the crisis we now confront. But today, rather than express regret, China is attempting to shift blame for the pandemic onto the United States. Without a shred of evidence, the regime now claims that U.S. Army soldiers brought the virus to Hubei. This ghoulish deception must not be entertained even momentarily. It fails the laugh test. And once the immediate crisis clears and life returns to relative normality, the U.S. should lead a global effort to hold China to account. The question is, how?

Stacks of Urns in Wuhan Prompt New Questions of Virus’s Toll

The long lines and stacks of ash urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan are spurring questions about the true scale of coronavirus casualties at the epicenter of the outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the virus in the central Chinese city, where the disease first emerged in December, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight local funeral homes starting this week. As they did, photos circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in.

Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500 urns on both Wednesday and Thursday, according to Chinese media outlet Caixin. Another picture published by Caixin showed 3,500 urns stacked on the ground inside. It’s unclear how many of the urns had been filled.

In China's Hubei, uncertainty, pessimism and hope as life resumes

Li Yu is happy she sold six pieces of roasted corn on the day she reopened her stall after travel restrictions were lifted in Jingzhou, but she worries about the future of her business near the city’s ancient wall, a tourist attraction in Hubei province. Li was forced to close her stall in late January as part of Hubei’s lockdown to tackle the spreading coronavirus epidemic, only opening on Thursday as China began lifting curbs on the province amid a sharp fall in locally-transmitted virus cases.

Li, 55, says business is at its worst in the seven years since she opened her stall. The Chinese Lunar New Year holiday in February is usually high season for Li, but the virus lockdowns killed that. In normal times she makes 4,000 yuan ($565.70) a month. The sale of six corn cobs would fetch around 12 yuan - a paltry daily income.

U.S. increases support for Taiwan in recognition battle with China

U.S. President Donald Trump has signed into law an act that requires increased U.S. support for Taiwan internationally, which will likely infuriate a China already angry with Trump’s criticism of the handling of the coronavirus outbreak.China claims democratic and separately ruled Taiwan as its own territory, and regularly describes Taiwan as its most sensitive and important issue in ties with the United States.

While the United States, like most countries, has no official relations with Taiwan, the Trump administration has ramped up support for the island, with arms sales and laws to help Taiwan deal with pressure from China. The Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act, signed by Trump into law on Thursday with strong bipartisan support, requires the U.S. State Department to report to Congress on steps taken to strengthen Taiwan’s diplomatic relations.

AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s inaccurate boasts on China travel ban

Defending early missteps in the U.S. response to the coronavirus, President Donald Trump has repeatedly boasted of travel restrictions on China that he suggests he decided on his own over the objections of health experts and saved “thousands” of lives. His claims aren’t substantiated.

India coronavirus: $22bn bailout announced for the poor

India has announced a $22bn (£19bn) bailout for the country’s poor to help counter the economic effects of the Covid-19 outbreak. “We don’t want anyone to remain hungry, and we don’t want anyone to remain without money in their hands,” finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

The package, which includes free food and cash transfers, was for “those who need immediate help”, she said. She also said health workers would get medical insurance of up to $66,500. Correspondents point out that this amounts to just 1% of India's GDP - in stark contrast to the US and Singapore which are spending about 10% of their GDP on similar packages.

Coronavirus: US overtakes China with most cases

The US now has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than any other country, with more than 85,500 positive tests. According to the latest figures collated by Johns Hopkins University, the US has overtaken China (81,782 cases) and Italy (80,589). But with almost 1,300 Covid-19-related fatalities, the US death toll lags behind China (3,291) and Italy (8,215).

The grim milestone came as President Donald Trump predicted the nation would get back to work "pretty quickly". Asked about the latest figures at a White House briefing on Thursday afternoon, President Trump said it was "a tribute to the amount of testing that we're doing".

Do not relax Covid-19 measures in Wuhan too soon, scientists warn

Relaxing physical distancing and school closures in Wuhan too soon could fuel a second wave of Covid-19 infections later in the year, scientists have said. A study published in the Lancet suggests lifting restrictions in March would lead to a surge in case numbers that would peak in August. It predicts that maintaining the restrictions until April would delay a second peak until October, which would relieve pressure on health services in the intervening months. The study serves as a reminder that there is no quick and easy exit strategy from the lockdowns that many countries have imposed.

Xi Jinping calls on Trump to improve US-China relations amid Covid-19 crisis

Chinese president Xi Jinping has called on Donald Trump to take “substantive actions” to improve relations between the two countries, as China prepared to shut its borders to foreign arrivals amid fears of infections coming from abroad. On Friday, Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping held a phone call about the coronavirus outbreak in an attempt to repair strained relations, following weeks of traded barbs over the virus. According to state media, Xi told Trump in a phone call on Friday that US-China relations had reached an “important juncture”.

“Working together brings both sides benefits, fighting hurts both. Cooperation is the only choice,” he said. Xi said he hoped the US would take “substantive actions” to improve US-China relations to develop a relationship that is “without conflict and confrontation” but based on “mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation.”

Trump has continued to call the disease “the Chinese virus,” despite protestations from Beijing. Chinese diplomats have in turn pushed the idea that the virus, which emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, originated in the US.

Chinese startups were already struggling to raise money. The coronavirus may be the last straw

China's startups had a rough time last year because of an economic slowdown and giant flops that scared away investors. Now they're having to dig deep and get creative to survive the coronavirus crisis that threatens to freeze activity during one of the most important funding periods of the year.

So far this year, venture capital investment in startups throughout Greater China — which includes the mainland and Hong Kong — has plummeted more than 65% compared to the same period a year ago, according to data provider PitchBook. That's bad news for many companies, which were already struggling to find funding during what came to be known last year as a "capital winter." Firms in the region raised a collective $54 billion in venture capital in 2019, about half of what they raised in 2018.

"Covid-19 has been another challenge among a series of setbacks for China's venture capital landscape," said Alex Frederick, a venture capital analyst at PitchBook.

As coronavirus cases spike worldwide, China is closing itself off

China is closing its border to most foreigners amid fears of imported novel coronavirus cases causing a second outbreak in the country where the infection was first detected. In a statement late Thursday, the government said that "in view of the rapid spread of Covid-19 across the world, China has decided to temporarily suspend the entry into China by foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits" as of March 28.

Anyone wishing to enter the country will have to apply for a new visa at their local Chinese embassy or consulate. The announcement did not say how long this would take.The decision to effectively seal off the country to foreigners is the latest in a series of moves intended to safeguard against infection from international travel, after more than 500 imported cases of the coronavirus were confirmed.

On Monday, Beijing city authorities announced that all international arrivals would be quarantined and tested for the virus at designated government facilities. Other cities have implemented stringent home quarantine requirements on international arrivals. Last week, a Chinese Australian woman was deported after neighbors recorded her breaching isolation controls to go jogging.

Indian migrant workers could undermine the world's largest lockdown

Thousands of migrant workers are attempting to leave India's major cities after a government lockdown designed to prevent a local epidemic of novel coronavirus left them without jobs or pay. The potential mass migration may undermine attempts by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government to prevent the localized spread of the coronavirus, with some workers even attempting to make the journey on foot, due to widespread closures of public transport.

According to government statistics, every year more than nine million migrant workers move from India's rural areas to large population centers to find work at construction sites or factories, sending money back to their home towns and villages. But with those industries closed by the government lockdown, many have been left with little choice but to attempt the return journey home.

torsdag 26. mars 2020

Europe’s coronavirus lockdown nightmare compared to China’s

China has a grid-like community control system, which may have helped slow the spread of the coronavirus. Besides reporting activities in neighbourhoods to the authorities, the grid system has workers available to provide community assistance to those in need. Like Europe, China seemed to fumble at the initial outbreak. Wuhan authorities at ground zero initially failed to report cases of the mystery illness, which cost time and lives. The city’s early response was to silence whistle-blowers like the late Dr Li Wenliang and clamp down on social media to control information.

But once China did mobilise, it imposed unprecedented measures. Movement in and out of Wuhan was halted, and the city, along with 15 others in Hubei province – home to more than 60 million people – went into lockdown. Flights and train travel was suspended and roads were blocked. The logistics of isolating millions of people are staggering. Here, we look at how the grid system was instrumental in China’s lockdown effort.