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115 views • October 1, 2020

CHINA'S FORGOTTEN VIRUS WHISTLEBLOWER

juliet song
Chinese authorities aren’t just cracking down on citizen journalists reporting on the pandemic. A whistleblower who exposed Beijing's cover-up of the Sars pandemic 17 years ago, could still be under house arrest. The whistleblower, Jiang Yanyong, is 88 years old. This February, his friends told British news outlet 'The Guardian' that Jiang has been under house arrest since last year. His wife said he “has no means of communication [with the outside]” despite his poor health. Like Dr. Li Wenliang, who was one of the first to warn about the CCP virus, Jiang emerged as a national hero for exposing the regime’s Sars coverup. The Sars virus emerged in china’s southern Guangdong province in late 2002. Like the CCP virus that swept the globe this year, they both belong to the coronavirus family, and once inside the body, they both target the lungs. At the time, Jiang was a semi-retired senior surgeon at an elite military hospital in Beijing. Number 301, the hospital serves Chinese military and treats top communist party officials. The 301 military hospital in Beijing is understood to be the medical facility where many high-ranking members of the Chinese communist party (CCP) have been treated)) In March of 2003, Jiang learned that his hospital leaders met with China’s health ministry officials. The leaders were told that Sars had already emerged in Beijing. But with china’s most important annual political meeting fast approaching, the hospital leaders were asked to keep the news quiet. In early April, china’s then health minister Zhang Wenkang said at a press conference that Beijing has only 12 confirmed cases. He claimed that Sars was under control, and that it was safe to work, live in, and visit china. Jiang recounted being upset by the health minister’s speech. He said at the time, he knew at least eighty Sars patients at two Beijing hospitals. Jiang tried to alert the media to the issue. He emailed two state-run media outlets, but got no response. But western media soon got ahold of the information. Jiang's report was published in a time magazine article online, and was featured as a cover story the following month. Other mainstream media also reported on the story. Several days later, the World Health Organization went to Beijing to investigate the Sars outbreak. Jiang said to hide the true scale of the outbreak, one military hospital moved some patients to a hotel. Two other major hospitals moved most of their Sars patients into ambulances, and ordered staff to drive around Beijing. Less than two weeks after Jiang reached out to western media, Chinese authorities admitted that they covered up the outbreak. The country's health minister and then Beijing mayor were both fired. Eventually forcing Beijing to admit it had obstructed the truth about what would become a global epidemic. At first, Chinese media applauded Jiang as a hero. But he soon vanished from media coverage. Now, he’s closely monitored by authorities and barred from leaving the country. In an interview with The Guardian this February, his wife said he was sickened with pneumonia last year, adding that she was 'sorry' and that it wasn't 'convenient to say more.' “I am sorry, it is not convenient to say more.” There are currently no reports about his condition.
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