Monday, July 6, 2020

Doped with Coronavirus, Chinese Media "Caixin" Defies Censorship

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The Caixin journalists who entered the department where Dr. Li Wenliang, the first coronavirus whistleblower, was hospitalized. Caixin

The Wuhan coronavirus crisis and the strict containment of the city from January 23 until April 8 opened a new front for Caixin, one of the most daring Chinese media: this famous bilingual news site (Mandarin and English), dedicated in principle to economic affairs, but known for its liberal political positioning, multiplied the revelations during these two crucial months . Two journalists and a photojournalist, under the direction of an associate editor, spent the seventy-seven days of confinement in Wuhan, moving when they could with protective coveralls.

On January 31, the site published an interview with Doctor Li Wenliang, who had been arrested by the police for having informed other doctors that the mysterious virus was of the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) type. On the evening of February 6, the two investigators went to the hospital, entered the garage and then met at midnight outside the door of the resuscitation unit where Doctor Li fought between life and death. After the announcement of his death, Caixin will issue a call for legislation to protect whistleblowers – a daring proposition in China – and a photo gallery showing people coming to lay flowers in front of Wuhan Central Hospital.

Read also Doctor Li Wenliang, martyr of the coronavirus that shakes the Chinese system

The journalists will later give the floor to the doctors of the establishment, who castigate the incompetence of their management following the numerous deaths among their colleagues. Ultimately taboo, the hospital party secretary is singled out: "He did not understand enough what an infectious disease was and prevented practitioners from sharing critical health information. "

That a small sample of the truth

On February 29, the site revealed that several Chinese laboratories had received samples from atypical pneumonia patients from Wuhan hospitals in December. And that they warned of the dangerousness of this unknown coronavirus, to be ordered, on 1er January, to destroy these samples. The first signs of the emergence of a SARS-type virus have " been identified, shared and then stifled ", they denounce.

A vigil held on February 7, 2020 in Hong Kong, after the death of doctor and whistleblower Li Wenliang.
A vigil held on February 7, 2020 in Hong Kong, after the death of doctor and whistleblower Li Wenliang. Kin Cheung / AP / SIPA

In late March, the photographer for Caixin, who attends the reopening of one of the city's funeral homes, learns from a truck driver that he delivered 5,000 ballot boxes in two days – raising serious doubts worldwide about the real number of dead in Wuhan . Local authorities will respond that these urns were also intended for the thousands of people who died during these two months of other pathologies than Covid-19.

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