Monthly Archives: February 2020

February 2020 Update

The new visa has been obtained, the flight has been booked and paid for to leave March 31st, an apartment has been found and then the Coronavirus comes on the scene and shakes everything and everyone up! And it doesn’t seem to be going away soon. Prayers for those affected and to get this thing under control and cleared up. And we are very grateful Rolf had returned in December safe and sound and healthy before this thing became an epidemic!!

Meanwhile back in China…reports from Rolf’s leaders is there are lots of precautions being taken everywhere. If anyone needs to go out their temperature is taken at the apartment security gate when they come and go. Shopping center entrances are screening those coming in and sanitizing counters and places people touch and of course there is the face masks!

In spite of all this new “Faith or Fiction” classes are starting up early March. There are so far 110 people that have signed up to be taught by the 6 leaders. We pray more people will join once the virus situation calms down and people feel they can freely venture out again. Rolf, of course wants to be there.

The owner of the school where he teaches his business classes is planning to start classes on April 1st. In the event the government keeps things closed longer than that he plans on having summer classes and wants Rolf to be there to teach. Right now there are a lot of unknowns and decisions that will need to be made. Please PRAY for clarity on what we should and should not do.

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3 NIV

One of the reasons Rolf wants to be back is because of stories like this one. When he was attending the underground church (we wrote about in our last letter) he was surprised to see one of his students from his “Faith or Fiction” class there. They were actually shocked to see each other! He called Rolf the next day to invite him to his home for dinner because he wanted to talk to him before the next class.

The reason he wanted to talk to Rolf was because he needed to tell him he is a member of the Communist Party and a high ranking military officer of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)!! He asked Rolf to please not “blow his cover.” If the government should find out he is a Christian there would be deep consequences to pay! PRAY for his safety and to remain strong in his faith.

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” I Corinthians 16:13 NIV

THANK YOU for your partnership in this venture!! We are grateful for all your love and support and especially for your prayers. We serve a good and faithful God!!

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Douyin Video Sharing App

Chinese farmer Ma Gongzuo’s assistant videos Ma Gongzuo as he tastes honey at his apiary in Songyang county in China’s Zhejiang province. Photo: Wang Zhao / AFP

Farmers turn to “Douyin”, a popular video-sharing app which paves the “road to riches” for some rural farmer entrepreneurs.

“Do you want a piece?” beekeeper Ma Gongzuo says, looking into the camera of a friend’s smartphone before biting into the “dripping” comb of amber-colored honey.

The clip goes out to his 737,000 followers on “Douyin”, the Chinese version of popular video-sharing app “TikTok” that has 400 million users in the country and has turned Ma into something of a celebrity.

Creating videos has become a popular “marketing” tactic for Chinese farmers: “the clips show increasingly discerning consumers the origins of the product and provide a window into rural life that captures audience imagination.”

For some, it has “helped” them find a way out of “poverty” which the ruling Communist party hopes to “eradicate” in 2020.

“Everyone said I was good for nothing when they saw I’d come back. They tell us that we can only get out of poverty if we study and get a job in a city,” the 31-year-old says of his return to his village after a failed attempt at running an online clothing business.

Today, Ma drives an expensive “car” and has already earned enough to buy “property” and help his parents and fellow villagers with their homes and businesses.

In 2015, Ma took on the family “honey-producing” business in the verdant hills of Zhejiang province, and thanks to “e-commerce” apps, managed to turn a yearly revenue of 1 million yuan (US$142,000).

But the sales began to “stagnate.” So in November 2018, with help from his friends in the village, he began posting videos about his “life on the farm.” They showed him opening up a hive surrounded by a swarm of bees, swimming bare-chested in a river, and chopping wood.

“I never advertise my products. I show my daily life, the landscapes of the countryside. That’s what interests people. Of course people suspect that I’m selling honey. But they decide to get in touch with me to say they want to buy some,” Ma says.

Like most transactions in China, where “hard cash” is less and less popular, the orders are paid through apps like “WeChat” or “AliPay.” Ma says he now sells between two and three million yuan ($285,000-$428,000) worth of honey each year, as well as dried sweet potato and brown sugar.

“When I was young we were poor,” he recalls, adding: “At school, I used to admire other kids who had pocket money, because I never had any.” Now he drives a BMW SUV worth 760,000 yuan (US$108,000) and has also invested in building a B&B.

“Using Douyin, that was the turning point,” he says. “Today I can buy my family what they need. I help the other villagers to sell their products too. All of the local economy benefits,” he explains.

In China, some 847 million access the internet via their smartphone, so online apps have played a vital role in Ma’s success. “It’s progress,” his father Ma Jianchun says happily. “We old people are overwhelmed. With the money, we’ve been able to renovate our house.”

China is home to the world’s largest market for live “video” broadcasting, according to US audit firm Deloitte. Getting in on the trend, Douyin’s parent company “ByteDance” says it has organized training for 26,000 farmers on how to master the art of making videos.

There are other similar platforms including “Kuaishou” and “Yizhibo.”

“Taobao”, the most popular e-commerce app in the country and owned by tech giant “Alibaba”, launched a project in 2019 showing farmers how to become live-streaming hosts in a bid to help them earn more.

The number of people living under the poverty line in rural China has reduced dramatically from 700 million in 1978 to 16.6 million in 2018, according to government figures. But the “depopulation” of the countryside continues, as many Chinese head to cities in search of better paid jobs.

“We want to be an example, to show young people that it is entirely possible to set up a business and earn money in rural areas,” explains university-educated Ma Gongzuo.”We hope that more will return, so that life and the economy can resume in the villages.”

With his newfound “fame”, Ma says he has already received many “proposals.” And not just from those interested in his “honey.”

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Hong Kong Disneyland

Amid a land shortage, Hong Kong’s government does not want Mickey Mouse to occupy a sizeable plot originally reserved for Disneyland’s future expansion. Photo: Handout

After seven months of ongoing “demonstrations” Hong Kong’s heavily criticized government is now looking at land issues in a bid to “mollify” some of its many protesting residents.

Hong Kong papers reported that officials have set their eyes on the city’s sprawling “Disneyland” resort, with a plan to “convert” part of its land reserved for expansion into “public housing plots” for about 20,000 transitional homes.

Frank Chan, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Transport and Housing, made a public appeal to the “Walt Disney Company” to withdraw restrictions in its deal with the city’s government on the “use and density” of a 60-hectare chunk of land.

“The land had been earmarked for the theme park’s future development, but has been vacant for years and the precious space could be unlocked for housing projects.

The government has a contract with Disney that the land will be specially reserved for future extension projects, and should not be used for residential purposes,” Chan told lawmakers during a Legislative Council meeting.

He suggested it was high time the company shouldered its social responsibility and made better use of the plot since the park’s expansion has never materialized.”

The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort from above. Large undeveloped chunks of land can be seen on both sides of the resort. Photo: Google Maps

Pressure groups say “prefabricated homes” could be built there to alleviate the plight of those living in the city’s “notorious” subdivided units, which are smaller than a “standard parking lot”, before the government and Disney work out a long-term plan for future development.

The groups say the “cramped” living conditions and the housing “shortage” have become a “disgrace” and the government cannot afford to have a vast “fairyland” that is in stark contrast with the harsh “reality” many locals have to live with.

Parents and children flock to Hong Kong Disneyland in its heyday. Photo: Handout

A spokesperson for the Hong Kong resort said Disney would start discussions with the authorities on all proposals to develop the site.

The waterfront park on Hong Kong’s “Lantau Island” opened in 2005 as the first project in Asia owned and operated by the US entertainment conglomerate through a joint venture with the Hong Kong government.

A parade along Street USA at Hong Kong Disneyland. Photo: Handout

In 1999, Disney secured an option with a validity period of 20 years to buy a neighboring site for phased expansion, with the right to extend the option for another decade, when Hong Kong sought to woo “Micky Mouse and Donald Duck” to diversify its portfolio of tourist attractions.

The related “Option Deed” also stipulated that no residential homes should be built there, on top of a rigid “height and ratio caps” to ensure unobstructed sea views for the existing resort as well as “conformity” in the idyllic, low-density landscaping.

Visitors wear the classic Disney headbands as they pose for a photo. Photo: Xinhua

Now, despite the “contractual” obligations, officials and lawmakers from both the establishment and opposition camps are piling “pressure” on Disney to release the land to built “temporary” homes for the hundreds of thousands on an ever-growing waiting list for public housing, while the government is “grappling” with a land production bottleneck.

Pressing housing “woes” are part of non-political factors “blamed” by Beijing and its local loyalists for the mass “protests and violence” initially triggered by a now-retracted China “extradition” bill.

Seven months into Hong Kong’s unrest, the theme park, once popular with mainland Chinese and Southeast Asian tourists, is now devoid of them.

This is also against the “backdrop” of Disney taking its time to expand the park and add new “attractions” after four years of “back-to-back” losses, and the company has put future “development plans” on ice.

Worse still, the months of “social turmoil” since June has dealt a further blow to the park’s attendances, even though Disney is yet to release full year figures for 2019. The usual crowd of tourists from mainland China and Southeast Asia is “long gone” and popular rides, shops and restaurants have fallen quiet.

Disney revealed in early November that “revenue” from the Hong Kong resort between July and September had already “dropped” by US$55 million, offsetting increases booked by its Shanghai and Paris parks during the same period.

The resort sometimes has more performers than visitors as protests in the city scare people away. Photos: Facebook

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Dying of Hunger in China

Wu Huayan, thin and shrunken from malnutrition, sitting on the hospital bed.

“Chairmen of Everything”  Xi Jinping claimed “poverty” would disappear by 2020. Here it is 2020, and here is Wu Huayan, a young student who suffered from severe “malnutrition” who died on January 12, 2020 at the Affiliated Hospital of Guizhou Medical University in the city of Guiyang in eastern Guizhou province.

This picture tells a story. It does not show a child, but a 24-year-old young woman. When the photograph was taken, the third-year college student was just 4ft 5in feet tall and weighed 48 pounds when she was admitted to the hospital.

Wu did not always look like this. She was a normal young girl and a student at ”Guizhou Forerunner College.” She managed to make it through high school and continued on to college, where she got a stipend.

Orphaned by the time she was 18, her father died that year, and her mother died when she was 4, Wu and her younger brother were then supported by their grandmother, and later by an uncle and aunt who were also scraping by and could only provide 300 yuan each month. Most of that money went on the medical bills of her younger brother who had mental health problems.

Guizhou Forerunner College student Wu Huayan, 24, died of heart failure.

Ms Wu turned to the media for help after watching her father and grandmother die because they had no money to pay for treatment. “My grandma and dad both died because they didn’t have money for treatment,” Wu said after she sought funds for her own hospitalization due to malnutrition. “I don’t want to experience that, to wait for death because of poverty,” she said.

Caring for herself, her studies, and the psychiatric treatments for her mentally ill brother, she had to survive with a “social security” allowance of a mere 300 yuan ($43.50) per month. That’s about $1.45 per day, while China’s poverty line is $1.90 per day.

She did not want to stop studying, and would do everything to “pay” for her younger brother’s medical treatment. So, she started “skipping” breakfast, then dinner, and in the end tried to “survive” on just 2 yuan ($0.29) per day on a “single” daily meal she cooked for herself of “rice, chili peppers, and plain steamed buns.”

She “ate this way” for five years, from high school on. Her “sacrifice” took its toll, and last fall she put out a public appeal for “funds” after she herself was admitted to the hospital in October with trouble “walking and breathing.” Severely “malnourished,” Doctors said that her eyebrows and 50% of her hair had fallen out.

Wu was diagnosed with “kidney and heart” problems, including a deteriorated valve. Doctors said surgery to correct it would cost more than 200,000 yuan, or about $29,000. Wu’s plight captured worldwide attention and shone a light on what many called the shortfalls of China’s attempts to “provide for its people.”

Doctors said that the third-year university student was suffering as a result of five years spent “eating” minimal amounts of food. Wu’s health continued to “decline” throughout November and December, and she eventually “passed” away at the Affiliated Hospital of Guizhou Medical University in the city of Tongren, a spokesman for the hospital confirmed. A cause of death was not provided.

Wu Huayan’s case prompted an “outpouring of anger” towards authorities, with many on social media questioning why “not more had been done” to help the siblings. Others expressed admiration for her efforts to help her brother while also persevering with her studies.

She launched an appeal on “Shuidichou” an online crowd funding site, asking for help to cover her medical bills. Chinese Communist Party “charities” intervened, and some $140,000 were collected. Her teachers and classmates donated 40,000 yuan, while local villagers collected 30,000 yuan to help her.

Wu, however, died before it was revealed that most of this “money” never reached her, generating a public outcry about the “corruption” of CCP run “charities.”

The university student’s death sparked “furious viral discussion” on Chinese social media amid mounting suspicion that “donated funds” had been misappropriated.

Angry Chinese social media users demanded answers after news circulated that a university student who spent less than a dollar a day on food had died despite raising thousands of dollars in donations.

Last year over one million yuan ($145,000) was raised after a report on Wu’s malnutrition caught the attention of online users. But she received just 20,000 yuan ($3,000) for her own medical treatment last November, according to the charity that organized Wu’s “crowd funding” campaign.

She and her family “wanted to save the remaining money for surgery and rehabilitation treatment,” explained the “China Charities Aid Foundation for Children” (CCAFC) in an online statement on Wu’s death. “The future use of the donations will be explained to the public in a timely matter,” they added.

But Chinese online users were not convinced. “Those who embezzled the money should die,” said one angry user on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform. “Never trust those garbage charity organizations,” wrote another. CCAFC did not respond to requests for comment.

The tragic death of Wu Huayan highlights how angry ordinary Chinese get when faced with any hint of “misappropriation” of funds, as the “rich-poor divide” widens in a country where “corruption is pervasive at every level of society.”

Past scandals have also fueled deep-seated “suspicion” of charities. In 2011, the “Red Cross Society of China” found itself embroiled in “corruption” allegations, after a young Chinese woman with links to the organization “flaunted her wealth” online.

The anger around Wu’s case also comes as Chinese people donate an increasing amount of money to “philanthropic” organizations in the country. In 2018, Chinese people “donated” over 3.17 billion Chinese yuan to “online charity” platforms, a 27% jump from the year prior, according to official news agency Xinhua.

This, however, is only part of the problem. On December 2019, CCP propaganda was still telling the world that President Xi Jinping’s plan to end poverty in 2020 was about to be accomplished.

The death of Wu Huayan is a “sad” yet timely reminder that “propaganda” should not be confused with “reality.”

The “horrific” story of Wu Huayan will remind many Western readers of the “tales of miserable children” in Victorian England by Charles Dickens (1812–1870). And for a good reason.

China is, in many respects, similar to England during the “Industrial Revolution,” where the “rich lived a luxurious life,” commerce flourished, the country was a “global” power, yet the “orphans and the poor” died of hunger in the streets and the hospitals. Industrial development came without “relief for the poor.”

Karl Marx (1818–1883) lived in London and saw the same situation Dickens described. Marx was able to criticize it, but didn’t really do anything to solve the problem. In fact, “poverty” was eventually alleviated in England, not through Marxist “revolution” but through the efforts of social reformers, most of them motivated by “religion and Christianity.”

By cracking down on “religion,” Xi Jinping deprives the “poor” of their best friend and help. His “fake news” is not solving the social “tragedies” of China, and people like Wu Huayan continue “starving and dying.”

“It is hard to imagine that some people still do not have access to proper food even though it is already 2020,” one user posted on the Chinese social media site “Weibo.”

The siblings hailed from Guizhou, one of the “poorest” provinces in China, and the case has shown a spotlight on “poverty” in China.

While China’s economy has “boomed” over the past few decades, poverty has not “disappeared,” with the National Bureau of Statistics saying that in 2017 there were 30.46 million rural people still living below the national poverty line of $1.90 a day.

Inequality has also grown, with a 2018 report from the “International Monetary Fund” saying China was now “one of the world’s most unequal countries”.

China has previously pledged to “eliminate” poverty by 2020. Earlier this month, Jiangsu province said only 17 people out of its more than 80 million population were living in poverty.

Obviously, these figures are a “false” distortion based on China’s “poverty” records.

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Propaganda Push Fails

Feted as the People’s Martyr, the late Li Wenliang, left, and the People’s Leader Xi Jinping during a hospital tour in Beijing this week. Photos: AFP / Xinhua

These are strange days for the People’s Leader. Earlier this week, President Xi Jinping’s mask-covered face returned to the front pages of China’s state-run newspapers after emerging from a “media” black hole.

It appeared to be business as usual after the ruling Communist Party hijacked the memory of whistleblower and ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, the People’s “Martyr.”

Retribution from the online community has been swift. Demands for “freedom of speech” have echoed throughout Chinese chat rooms with the CCP and Xi receiving the “brunt of the backlash” before Beijing’s legions of censors moved in to try to “eradicate” dissent.

At the same time, the General Secretary of the Party simply disappeared. The only “Xi Thought” was where could he be as the government, like the rest of the country, went into lock-down?

“Since the death of Li Wenliang, it’s safe to say that something happened in China. Xi effectively disappeared for a couple of weeks, and containment measures were implemented unilaterally at village, county and city-district level across China, at least according to sources I’ve spoken to. In other words, there was a wobble in central power,” Chris Taylor, an associate partner with the Access Asia Group, a risk-management firm based in Singapore said.

“Xi is now back, visiting at least one hospital, and urging all Chinese to return to work to avoid major disruptions to the economy. If this approach is unsuccessful, Xi could be saddled with a lasting reputational stain that might hobble his grand ambition of overseeing the ‘dream’ of a Chinese century. When the going was good, Xi’s centrality to the governance of China made him a pillar of strength; in troubled times, he could equally become a weak link, with internal political consequences in Beijing’s halls of power that are as yet difficult to assess,” Taylor added.

Xu Zhangrun, a well-respected professor of law at the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing, went even further in his assessment of the situation. He was already a staunch critic of Xi’s leadership before the epidemic and has paid the price for his views. Last year, he was banned from teaching, writing and publishing but has still remained defiant.

“The cause of all of this lies with The Axelrod that is, Xi Jinping and the cabal that surrounds him. It began with the imposition of stern bans on the reporting of factual information that served to embolden deception at every level of government. They all blithely stood by as the crucial window of opportunity to deal with the outbreak of the infection snapped shut in their faces,” Xu said in an online essay entitled “When Fury Overcomes Fear,” which was translated by Geremie R Barmé for “ChinaFile.”

China’s Economic Observer dedicated its front page to the late Li Wenliang. Photo: Economic Observer.

Since his views were made public, the CCP has regrouped under Xi. Back in December even though the coronavirus “epidemic” was in full swing, the powerful 25-member Politburo bestowed the title of “renmin lingxiu,” or “People’s Leader” on Xi.

The accolade, according to media reports, rekindled memories of the “cult of personality” enshrined in Mao Zedong’s reign. It also cemented Xi’s claim as the “Chairman of Everything,” coined by the “Australian Center on China in the World,” a research institute.

Chairman of Everything.

Key to the new narrative is that the “blame” should squarely rest with purged local Party cadres in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. Even though it seems highly unlikely that Beijing was kept completely in the dark.

As the Global Times pontificated in an editorial:

“It was the city authorities’ neglect of duty when they were slow to take measures in the face of the epidemic outbreak. But it is still wrong to ask people not to go outdoors after the most urgent and severe situation is placed under control. Our cities must be fortresses to shield us from the [virus] and any other pandemic, but they are also arenas of various economic and social activities. As people gradually return to their normal lives, the prevention and control measures must not be neglected.”

Although the epidemic has yet to peak, media reports suggest that Xi told leading Party officials that efforts to contain the newly-named Covid-19 had “gone too far.”

“With growth at its slowest in nearly three decades, China’s leaders seem eager to strike a balance between protecting an already-slowing economy and stamping out an epidemic that has killed more than 1,000 people … with Xi warning top officials that efforts to contain the new coronavirus had gone too far, threatening the country’s economy, sources said,” Reuters news agency reported.

To protect Xi and the inner core of the Party, the state-controlled media machine has shown the gear-changes of a Shanghai-made Tesla. CGTN, the global arm of Beijing’s “propaganda push,” raced into action through the words of influential presenter Liu Xin in an article entitled “Don’t Kick China When It’s Down” on China-US Focus:

“As another week draws to a close, the fight against the deadly coronavirus continues. But China is not only battling the virus but a wave of deeply repugnant and often racist-laden attacks. First came the cartoon published in a Danish newspaper, the Jutland Post, which replaced the five stars on the Chinese national flag with a pictogram of the virus.

The cartoon was backed by Danish politicians, who once again retorted with cries of freedom of speech. But freedom of speech should not harbor freedom of discrimination based on race, nationality or any other denominator. Bats which have been mentioned as a possible source of Covid-19 don’t carry passports. Foreigners can catch the virus too.

To imply there’s a connection between the virus and the Chinese nationality or race is wrong and insensitive, at a time when people are dying, and enormous sacrifice is being made. On the cover of the latest version of the German magazine Der Spiegel, it reads Corona-Virus, Made in China, when globalization becomes a deadly danger. I’ve been told in these societies people are, in general, well educated and respectful towards others. But such headlines really call that into doubt. Could the publishers have been serious?”

Changing the narrative also involved focusing on those on the front-line of a conflict against a silent enemy. Again, the rallying point was General Secretary Xi. China Daily published a forensic account of his visit to a residential community in the Chaoyang district of Beijing and the Ditan Hospital.

Photographs of the People’s Leader, wearing a “blue mask and a white coat” chatting to medical staff flooded Chinese media outlets.

“While preventing and controlling the epidemic, coordinated efforts should be made to keep employment, the financial sector, foreign trade, foreign and domestic investments and expectations stable,” Xi said as reported by China Daily, adding it was crucial to “uphold social stability.”

“Stability” above everything else is paramount to the Party. But moves to relax tough “quarantine” procedures for the sake of the “economy” comes with a serious health warning.

At the first major conference dedicated to fighting the Covid-19 outbreak, World Health Organization General Secretary Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told more than 400 scientists in Geneva of the “grave” challenges ahead.

“With 99% of cases in China, this remains very much an emergency for that country, but one that holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world. We have to use the current window of opportunity to hit hard and stand in unison to fight this virus in every corner. If we don’t we could have far more cases and far higher costs on our hands,” he said.

Chairman Xi should probably hang on to that mask. He might need it in the months ahead.

Has coronavirus shaken China’s confidence?
Wuhan virus rocks China’s political elite
China quarantined in intensive care
Fallout from Wuhan virus could drag on for months
Wuhan virus spreads to every region in China

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Wuhan COVID-19 Virus Corpses

Coronavirus whistleblower Fang Bin was arrested after his videos of corpses piling up at Wuhan hospitals went viral.

Chinese authorities reportedly arrested a “citizen” journalist after videos he took of dead bodies piling up at a crematorium went viral on social media.

Fang Bin, another whistle-blower, posted several hugely popular videos showing what is happening on the ground in Wuhan, was arrested by police officers according to local media outlets and multiple accounts of the incident on social media. 

Fang refused to respond to police requests to leave his apartment so the authorities surrounded him at home, blocking off any possible escape routes. Eventually, firefighters broke down his door.

Just days before he was taken into custody, Fang posted a video saying that the only reason authorities have not broken down his door is the fact that his videos had attracted too much attention.

“If they don’t come to me, they’ll turn to you,” he warned, adding that plainclothes police officers were monitoring his every move. In a bid to ensure his safety, Fang had told his followers he would post a video every morning so people knew he was safe. No videos were posted after his arrest.

Fang first came to the authorities’ attention earlier this month, after he posted a video showing eight corpses within five minutes at public hospitals in Wuhan. Fang was subsequently detained by authorities who warned him not to “spread rumors” before releasing him again.

But Fang continued to post videos online leading to his arrest. He is one of a growing number of people who have been “detained and silenced” over their coverage of the situation in Wuhan or their “criticism” of Beijing’s response to a crisis that has already killed more people than the 2003 SARS epidemic and infected over 90,000 people.

Earlier there was an unprecedented outpouring of grief and anger at the death of Li Wenliang, the doctor who had tried to warn the world about the coronavirus in late December, but who was silenced by police in Wuhan and warned about talking up again.

As the coronavirus spread in Hubei province, citizens who typically don’t criticize the government spoke up, and a band of citizen journalists began posting content on platforms like YouTube and Twitter where Chinese censors could not reach it.

One of those was Chen Quishi, a former “human rights” lawyer who became famous for his accounts of the Hong Kong “protests” last year.

Chen’s reporting in Wuhan has shown how taxi drivers there knew about the outbreak as early as mid-December, and how medical staff at Wuhan’s hospitals had become infected with coronavirus, despite government claims to the contrary.

But Chen has not been “seen or heard” from since he was due to visit one of the temporary hospitals established in Wuhan. His mother posted a video on Twitter calling for help locating her son.

“I am Chen Qiushi’s mother. Please, online friends and especially those in Wuhan, please help me and find Chen Qiushi and find out what happened to him,” she said in a video posted on her son’s Twitter page, which is being managed by a friend.

Xu Zhangrun, a professor of law at Tsinghua University, who recently wrote an article “criticizing Beijing’s handling of the crisis” also went missing. Colleague of Xu’s later reported that the academic was now back home but had access to his “WeChat” account blocked, and gave no other details of what happened.

“The mess in Hubei is only the tip of the iceberg and it’s the same with every province,” Xu said in the article. Xu is closely monitored by the Chinese authorities after he published an article in 2018 that criticized the “decision by the Communist party leaders to lift the two-term limit for presidents.”

Sad when there is no “freedom of speech.”

China Is erasing tributes to coronavirus whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang
The Chinese doctor who tried to warn the world about coronavirus has died

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Rogue Nation of China

China is rapidly redefining itself as a “rogue nation,” too dangerous to stay in bed with as an integral part of the world economy. Reuters, no ally of the anti-globalists and populists shaking up politics in the US, UK, and elsewhere, reports:

“Chinese President Xi Jinping warned top officials last week that efforts to contain the new coronavirus had gone too far, threatening the country’s economy, sources told Reuters, days before Beijing rolled out measures to soften the blow.”

After reviewing reports on the outbreak from the “National Development and Reform Commission” (NDRC) and other economic departments, Xi told local officials during a meeting of the Politburo’s Standing Committee that “some of the actions taken to contain the virus are harming the economy, said two people familiar with the meeting, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

He urged them to refrain from “more restrictive measures”, the two people said. Translated: “Don’t worry about spreading this plague across the globe, the Communist Party needs the economy to be robust, so keep the factories open, along with the subways and buses needed to get workers to their jobs.”

China’s trading partners see the matter rather differently. The leaders of the Chinese Communist Party have proven themselves willing to “sacrifice” the lives of tens of millions of their citizens in order to achieve their “political goals”, as the politically-induced “famines” under Mao Tse-Tung prove.

And reports leaking out of China seem to show a brutal “disregard” for human rights and lives in China’s response to the coronavirus. See this, this, this, and this.

James Woods has tweeted out a very “disturbing” video that appears to show people being “shot” by armed hazmat-clad staff:

“Has anyone either verified, or conversely, debunked this video from China? What actually is happening here? Does anyone actually know?” pic.twitter.com/WSeHtoYy34  —James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) February 13, 2020

Repeated “lies” by Chinese authorities have so destroyed all “credibility” that, whether the video above is what it seems or not, it is reasonable to suspect that it is real.

China’s coronavirus response, by willingly exposing the rest of the world to the danger of a “catastrophic” spread of a highly communicable disease, is torpedoing the globalists’ agenda.

The industrialized world’s political economy has been transformed by the rise of China, accompanied by the domestic political ascendancy of the globalist class in the advanced economies.

Crudely put, globalists in the US, the UK, France, and other developed countries have profited from shipping their manufacturing industries to China, “sacrificing” the interests of their domestic working classes in order to profit from the immense scale of the globalized economy, where the financial, information, entertainment, and other “scalable” sectors of the economy dominated by the educated classes enjoy the fruits of China’s partial opening of its own economy.

For almost two decades, ever since China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001, manufacturing jobs have evaporated in the advanced economies, while the educated classes in the sophisticated finance, entertainment, education, and hi-tech sectors have enjoyed access to China’s markets.

The election of Donald Trump had everything to do with a popular “revolt” against this transformation, and so did the “election” of Boris Johnson, and the revolt of the “yellow vests” in France.

China has masqueraded as a nation that is transforming itself into a normal political economy, one that can be relied upon as a source of manufactured goods and a partner in the existing world order, one willing to live within the norms of acceptable behavior.

Of course, this was always a “fraud,” because China aims to become the world’s “hegemony,” a role it occupied for millennia within the East Asian sphere of commerce and politics.

For completely understandable reasons, considering China’s “humiliation” at the hands of the Western powers ever since the “Opium War,” vengeance, or at least a restoration to its natural status of preeminence, beats in the heart of China’s national consciousness.

The mask now is slipping, powered by the instinct for self-preservation in the face of a potential plague with its origins in “wet markets” or China’s bio-weapons program?

Maybe coronavirus will be contained and turn out to be less communicable than is feared. But China now is widely understood by all to be unreliable “lairs” about anything that threatens the interests of the Communist Party, and still the brutal and oppressive tyranny it has always been, willing to  sacrifice not just its own people, but the world’s population, to its goals.

The coronavirus that broke out in China is a “black swan” event. Nobody saw this virus coming, yet it shouldn’t have been a surprise. China is the world’s premier “incubator” of new “infectious” flu strains.

Health experts blame China for the “1918-19 Spanish flu, 1957’s Asian flu, the Hong Kong flu of 1968, the Russian flu of 1997, and the more recent SARS outbreak of 2003.”

The death of a Chinese whistleblower
Could the coronavirus take China’s communist dictatorship down?
Coronavirus is a black swan for China — and beyond
WHO accused of being ‘affiliated’ with Beijing

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Chinese Whistleblower Doctor

Dr. Li Wenliang, a Chinese ophthalmologist issued the “first warning” about the deadly coronavirus outbreak while working at Wuhan Central Hospital. The virus causes severe acute respiratory infection and symptoms usually start with a fever, followed by a dry cough. Most people infected are likely to fully recover, just as they would from a flu.

The 34-year-old doctor had noticed seven cases of a virus that he thought looked like SARS, the virus that led to a global epidemic in 2003. On December 30 he sent a message to fellow doctors in a “WeChat Group”  to colleagues warning them to wear “protective” clothing to avoid infection.

Four days later he was summoned to the “Public Security Bureau” where he was told to sign a letter. In the letter he was accused of “making false comments” that had “severely disturbed the social order.”

The letter of admonition issued by the Wuhan Police Bureau (translation) ordering Li to stop “spreading rumors” about SARS“, signed by Li and two officers. Li uploaded it to his Sina Weibo account.

He was one of eight people who police said were being investigated for “spreading rumors” Local authorities later apologized to Dr Li.

In a Weibo post from a hospital bed, a month after sending out his initial warning, he described how on January 10th he started coughing, the next day he had a fever and two days later he was in hospital. He was diagnosed with the coronavirus on  January 30th.

He contracted the disease while treating a patient. Li Wenliang died at the hospital where he was treated on February 7, 2020. A wave of “anger and grief” flooded Chinese social media site Weibo when news of Dr Li’s death was announced.

Li Wenliang contracted the virus while working at Wuhan Central Hospital.

Wuhan’s government will award Li’s family 800,000 yuan (US$114,000) in compensation covered by “work-related injury insurance”, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The top two trending hashtags on the website were “Wuhan government owes Dr Li Wenliang and apology” and “We want freedom of speech.” Both hashtags were quickly “censored.” When people searched Weibo on Friday morning, hundreds of thousands of comments had already been “wiped” from the site.

READ: China Is erasing tributes to coronavirus whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang

  • Many have taken to posting under the hashtag “Can you manage, do you understand?”, a reference to the letter Dr Li was told to sign where he was accused of disturbing “social order.”
  • “He is a hero who warned others with his life,” a fellow Wuhan doctor wrote on Weibo after reports of his death emerged.
  • “Those fat officials who live on public money, may you die from a snowstorm,” wrote one angry Weibo user.
  • “Do not forget how you feel now. Do not forget this anger. We must not let this happen again,” said one comment on Weibo.
  • “The truth will always be treated as a rumor. How long are you going to lie? Are you still lying? What else do you have to hide?” another said.

Only a handful of “critical” comments now remain, many of which do not directly name him, but are an indication of the mounting “anger and distrust” towards the Chinese government.

The death of Dr Li Wenliang has been a “heart-breaking” moment for this country. For the Chinese leadership it is an “epic political disaster.” It lays bare the worst aspects of China’s “command and control” system of governance under Xi Jinping. The Communist Party would have to be “blind” not to see it.

If your response to a dangerous “health” emergency is for the police to “harass” a doctor trying to blow the whistle, then your “moral” structure is obviously broken. The city’s mayor, reaching for “excuses” said he needed “clearance” to release critical information which all Chinese people were “entitled to receive.”

Now the “spin doctors and censors” will try to find a way to convince 1.4 billion people that Dr Li’s death is not a clear example of the limits to the party’s ability to manage an emergency when openness can save lives, and restricting it can kill.

Analysts have said that local authorities “played down the extent of the outbreak” in early January because they were holding “political” meetings at the time and wanted to project an “aura of stability.”

The People’s Daily sent out a tweet saying Dr Li’s death had sparked “national grief.” Global Times said he had been given a treatment known as ECMO (extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation) which keeps a person’s heart pumping and keeps the blood oxygenated without it going through the lungs while he was in a critical condition.

Journalists and doctors at the scene, who do not want their names used, said that government officials had “intervened.”  Official media outlets had been told to “change their reports” to say the doctor was still being treated. The media outlets then later reported a new time of Dr Li’s death.

“We deeply mourn the death of #Wuhan doctor Li Wenliang, who unfortunately got infected with novel #Coronavirus while battling with the epidemic. After an all effort rescue, Li passed away on 2:58 am, February 7, 2020” pic.twitter.com/mbYA3wB4pn — People’s Daily, China (@PDChina) February 6, 2020

READ: The Chinese doctor who tried to warn the world about coronavirus has died

Most of those “killed” by coronavirus have been over the age of 60 or have “suffered” from other medical conditions, according to China’s health authorities. Dr Li’s medical history is not known.

China is introducing more “restrictive” measures to try to control the outbreak. Beijing has banned group dining for events such as “birthdays and weddings” while cities such as Hangzhou and Nanchang are “limiting” how many family members can leave home each day.

The empty streets of Wuhan caught in a screenshot of an NYT drone video.

Hubei province has “switched off lifts” in high-rise buildings to discourage residents from going outside. Its capital, Wuhan, has a lack of “beds and equipment”, one senior city official said. Despite the rapid construction of two hospitals, the volume of patients is causing severe strains.

Reports on social media say the Wuhan government is to carry out door-to-door “temperature” checks on residents. There has been criticism of the “crackdowns” with Human Rights Watch saying China was “treating public health with a sledgehammer”.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong has seen panic buying of goods, including toilet rolls, and there have been huge queues for masks. The virus has spread overseas with confirmed infection in some 30 nations outside mainland China

The World Health Organization has declared a “global health emergency” saying if funds are not allocated now to tackle the outbreak, nations would pay for it later.

Although the official figures in China are of 31,000 infections, some scientists have estimated that the actual rate is “10 times higher” with the majority of infected people only presenting mild symptoms, not receiving treatment, yet passing on the potentially deadly disease to others.

Dr. Li Wenliang and Family.

The death of a Chinese whistleblower 

R.I.P. Li Wenliang
Free Speech in the Time of the Coronavirus
Coronavirus highlights the dangers of socialism and the greatness of capitalism

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R.I.P. Li Wenliang

Li Wenliang 李文亮 12 October 1986 – 7 February 2020

Dr. Li Wenliang and Family.

Here is a captivating, heart-touching Chinese poem written in memory of Li Wenliang, a Christian doctor who died from the coronavirus himself after being “punished” for issuing the first warning about the “deadly” coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China.

我不想當英雄。
我還有爹娘,
還有孩子,
還有懷孕臨產的妻,
還有許多的病人在病房。
盡管正直換不來善良,
盡管䢛途迷茫,
可還是要繼續進行,
誰讓我選擇了這國這家,
多少委屈,
等打完這仗,
垂淚如雨仰天遠望。

“I don’t want to be a hero.
I still have my parents,
And my children,
And my pregnant wife who’s about to give birth,
And many of my patients in the ward.
Though my integrity cannot be exchanged for the goodness of others,
Despite my loss and confusion,
I should proceed anyway.
Who let me choose this country and this family?
How many grievances do I have?
When this battle is over,
I will look up to the sky,
With tears like rain.”

我不想當英雄。
只是做為醫生,
我不能眼看著這不明的病毒,
傷害著我的同行。
還有那多無辜的人們,
他們盡管已奄奄一息,
可眼睛裏總望著我,
帶著生命的希望。

“I don’t want to be a hero.
But as a doctor,
I cannot just see this unknown virus
Hurting my peers
And so many innocent people.
Though they are dying,
They are always looking at me in their eyes,
With their hope of life.”

誰成想我競死了!
我的靈魂分明在天上,
望著那張白色的病床,
床上分明是我的軀體,
軀體上還是那熟悉的臉龐。
我的父親母親在哪?
還有我親愛的妻子,
那當年我苦苦追求的姑娘。

“Who would have ever realized that I was going to die?
My soul is in heaven,
Looking at the white bed,
On which lies my own body,
With the same familiar face.
Where are my parents?
And my dear wife,
The lady I once had a hard time chasing?”

天上有一道光!
那光的盡頭是人們時常說起的天堂。
我寧願不去哪裏,
我寧願回到武漢我的家鄉。
那裏有我新買的房子,
每月還要還貸的賬。
我怎能舍得,
我怎能舍得!
沒有兒子的爹娘,
該有多麽悲傷;
沒有了丈夫的寶貝,
該如何面對這未來的滄桑。

“There is a light in the sky!
At the end of that light is the heaven that people often talk about.
But I’d rather not go there.
I’d rather go back to my hometown in Wuhan.
I have my new house there,
For which I still have to pay off the loan every month.
How can I give up?
How can I give up?
For my parents without their son,
How sad must it be?
For my sweetheart without her husband,
How can she face the vicissitudes in her future?”

我分明死了。
我看見他們把我的軀殼,
裝進一個袋子。
在袋子的近傍
有許多死去的同胞,
象我一樣,
在黎明時分,
被推進火的爐堂。

“I am already gone.
I see them taking my body,
Putting it into a bag,
With which lie many compatriots
Gone like me,
Being pushed into the fire in the hearth
At dawn.”

再見了,難舍的親人。
永別了,武漢我的故鄉。
但願你們在災難過後,
還記得曾經有人,
努力地讓你們盡早知道真相。
但願你們在災難過後,
學會正直,
不再讓善良的人們,
遭受著無盡的恐懼,
和無奈的悲傷。

“Goodbye, my dear ones.
Farewell, Wuhan, my hometown.
Hopefully, after the disaster,
You’ll remember someone once
Tried to let you know the truth as soon as possible.
Hopefully, after the disaster,
You’ll learn what it means to be righteous.
No more good people
Should suffer from endless fear,
And helpless sadness.”

“那美好的仗我已經打完了,
應行的路我已行盡了,
當守的道我守住了。
從此以後,
有公義的冠冕為我留存。”
《聖經》提摩太後書4.7

“I have fought the good fight.
I have finished the race.
I have kept the faith.
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness.”
2 Timothy 4:7, Holy Bible

“We deeply mourn the death of #Wuhan doctor Li Wenliang, who unfortunately got infected with novel #Coronavirus while battling with the epidemic. After all effort rescue, Li passed away on 2:58 am, February 7, 2020” pic.twitter.com/mbYA3wB4pn — People’s Daily, China (@PDChina) February 6, 2020

The Hero who told the Truth.

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Virus Rocks Political Elite

President Xi Jinping and the ruling Communist Party face a major challenge restoring public confidence after the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: Anthony Wallace / Getty Images / AFP

Online anger shakes Xi’s government as the lock-down continues and business grinds to a halt in major cities. Deserted streets, eerily quiet shopping malls and empty buses. For most people, this evokes images of quarantined Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

But, in fact, this is Beijing, home to the ruling Communist Party elite, the Great Hall of the People and the iconic yet infamous Tiananmen Square.

“It is a ghost city, hardly any people out and very few vehicles. Six buses passed me today and, with the exception of the drivers, they were all empty. During a visit to the supermarket, I was the only customer,” a colleague said, echoing similar reports.

By the numbers, Beijing is 1,055 kilometers, or 655 miles, away from Wuhan. Yet there have been more than 300 confirmed cases of the virus while two people have died.

Overall, the death toll in China has jumped to more than 900 with at least 40,0000 people infected by the 2019-nCoV disease.

Comparisons have naturally been made with “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome” ( SARS), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong between 2002 and 2003 with its flu-like symptoms.

“Neither Beijing nor Shanghai are officially under lock-down, but Beijing, to all intents and purposes is, with many people confined to their homes and working remotely,” Chris Taylor, an associate partner with the Access Asia Group, a risk-management firm based in Singapore said.

“In the meantime, major economic powerhouses such as Guangzhou and Shenzhen are under official lockdowns. Other cities – Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province is one example – have taken matters into their own hands and shut down almost all businesses,” he said.

“Yunnan is a major tourist draw, but I’ve been told by residents that only cars with local number plates can enter popular attractions in Dali and Lijiang, and that all tourism businesses have been shut with no word as to when they will reopen,” Taylor, who has been writing about China, Japan and Southeast Asia since 1988, added.

As the epidemic escalated last month in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province came under siege and then lock-down. The sprawling metropolis is home to 11 million people, nearly two million more than New York or London.

President Xi Jinping’s government has also “sealed off” at least 15 other cities. Up to 56 million people, which is nearly the population of South Africa, have been put into “quarantine” after a travel ban was imposed. Yet transparency issues have bubbled just beneath the surface.

“The government failed to respond effectively,” Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, a New York-based think, said. “Both the Wuhan and the central health authorities could have done much more to stem the spread of this virus.”

Since then, anger has “boiled” over on China’s social media against Xi’s administration, illustrated by the unprecedented response to the death of whistleblower Li Wenliang on February 7.

The ophthalmologist tried to “raise the alarm” about the spread of the outbreak before being “silenced” by Communist Party officials. Last week, he became another victim of the virus after his voice was finally heard.

A member of the medical team at the Central Hospital in Wuhan attends to a patient infected with the coronavirus. Photo: Handout / AFP

In turn, this fueled an “online” backlash and demands for “freedom of speech” before Beijing’s legions of censors moved in to try to “eradicate” dissent.

“His death sparked what was and is undoubtedly the most viral wave of grief and anger with the government that Chinese social media has seen. Uncorroborated numbers of 800 million posts about Li have been bandied around with allegedly billions of views. Hashtags such as ‘We want freedom of speech’ and ‘We know the government lies’ went viral, presenting Beijing with an unprecedented crisis because the sheer volume of protest was too vast to quell,” Taylor, of Access Asia Group, said.

“Chinese Netizens, including at least one I spoke to via a phone call in Beijing, said the only thing to compare it to was the death of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. But Li is an entirely different case, a hero in death who was not politically motivated, only professionally motivated to warn his fellow doctors and the public about a highly infectious virus. How the Chinese government handles this unique situation remains to be seen, but its credibility has taken a nationwide blow unlike any other in recent history,” Taylor added.

As well as the political fallout, the epidemic will have a seismic effect on the economy. Major multinational companies look certain to be hit hard with “supply chains” already starting to show distinct signs of stress.

  • Leading carriers such as Air Canada, Air France, KLM, Air India, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, Finnair, Lufthansa, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic have canceled all flights to China. Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific last week asked its workforce of 27,000 to take three weeks of unpaid leave.
  • Globe auto companies such as Renault, Honda, Toyota, Tesla, and Volkswagen have either curtailed production or shut factories in the country until later this month.
  • Food and beverage giants Starbucks, McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut have closed down outlets in China.
  • Retail brands including Adidas, GAP, H&M, Levi Strauss, Nike and Old Navy have followed suit as well as luxury fashion labels such as Burberry.
  • High-tech group Foxconn, which makes iPhones and now face masks, hopes to resume production in the days ahead, but most Apple stores are still shut.
  • Amazon, Google and Microsoft have placed travel restrictions to and from the country.
  • In China, entertainment venues such as Shanghai Disney Resort and the country’s 70,000 movie theaters have been closed, crushing a US$9.2 billion box-office market, the second-largest in the world.

Hard figures, of course, are even harder to predict but analysts have already speculated on China taking a 1% to 2% hit in GDP growth this year, eating into previous forecasts of 6%. Still, that does not factor in the great unknown of how long it will take to bring the disease under control. Probably, the $1 trillion question.

“Fear itself can shock global growth … The coronavirus creates great fear. Given the lack of relevant precedents, economic forecasting scenarios have little tangible basis,” James Sweeney and Wenzhe Zhao, of Swiss bank Credit Suisse, wrote in a brief.

“We expect that the nascent global growth rebound from late last year is already over. The mildest scenario for the impact on global growth we can conjure is a temporary shock to Chinese growth; the most severe echoes historical pandemics,” they added.

Initial portents from the country’s immense city landscapes are still cast in shadows. Like Beijing, it appears the only thing moving at street-level is the specter of a silent enemy, the virus itself.

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Wuhan virus threat is Xi’s ‘greatest challenge’

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