In China, a government serological study reveals that 4.43% of Wuhan residents were contaminated in April, just after the peak of the health crisis. Relative to the total population of the megalopolis, this represents more than 480,000 inhabitants at the epicenter of the epidemic who were contaminated. These numbers are ten times higher than the official figures announced by the Chinese authorities.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that according to serological tests carried out in April after the peak of the epidemic, 4.43% of Wuhan residents tested positive for antibodies.
In other words, their bodies had reacted to the presence of the virus. In relation to the 11 million inhabitants of the city, this percentage of 4.43% would mean that some 480,000 people are contaminated: this is almost ten times more than the official figure of 50,000 contaminations.
This study brings water to the mill of critics of the communist regime who denounce its lack of transparency in the management of the epidemic.
Like CCTV, the Chinese state television channel, for which this study demonstrates the effectiveness of the response of public authorities in health. On Weibo, the Chinese Twitter, the country’s first television channel, published a text highlighting that the risk of infection was very low on Chinese soil.
This publication received thousands of “likes” and many comments from Internet users praising the efforts of the central government to prevent and control the epidemic.
A notice from the site host below the entry reminds that a message filter has been implemented to limit malicious attacks or spam. Weibo, like the rest of the Chinese network, is strictly controlled by Chinese censors.
Little room for debate
Censorship leaves little room for debate, while dissenting voices continue to try to make themselves heard. Starting with the Chinese immunology expert, Tao Lina, who questions the conclusions of this study and openly questions the veracity of the official figures. But the article in question, posted on the WeChat app, was quickly removed from the internet.
The communist regime is particularly attentive to the narrative related to China’s health response. A few days ago, Zhang Zhan, a 37-year-old citizen journalist, was sentenced to four years in prison for her reporting in the city of Wuhan, which was confined at the beginning of the epidemic. He had filmed deserted streets and crowded hospitals with the influx of patients.
Three other citizen journalists, who had rushed to Wuhan before the quarantine was put in place, were also arrested for their investigations at the epicenter of the epidemic.
Chinese government opacity
This study, like the conviction of this journalist, reopens the debate on the opacity of the Chinese government in its management of the epidemic, a debate illustrated by confidential documents from the health authorities of the Hubei province, in which Wuhan is located. The report, which was broadcast by the whistleblowers and published by CNN, pointed to the lack of preparation of the local authorities and a clear underestimation of the number of contaminations at the beginning of the epidemic in the megalopolis in the center of the country.
But for Beijing, nothing and no one can contradict the official version of the story that China has won the people’s war against the virus. On Thursday, December 31, the central government finally approved the commercialization of the first Chinese vaccine, despite the fact that more than 1.5 million people have already been vaccinated. On social media, this news brought a wind of optimism and congratulations to the Chinese Communist Party.