China, Politics and SARS

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Su Wei, Apr 6, 2003.

  1. Su Wei

    Su Wei
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2003
    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    0
    Article taken from The Straits TImes
    China forced to face bad news
    After five months of covering up its Sars problem for political reasons, it has finally given in to international pressure

    By Ching Cheong

    HONGKONG - China has finally been forced by international pressure to change its attitude and cooperate with the international community's efforts to contain the spread of Sars.

    By the time President Hu Jintao urged full-scale cooperation with the World Health Organisation (WHO), five months had passed since the Sars outbreak erupted in Guangdong last November.


    And after Premier Wen Jiabao made it the first item on the agenda of a recent State Council meeting to discuss the main tasks of the Cabinet this year, approval was at last given for WHO officials to carry out investigations in the stricken province.

    'These are very positive steps taken by China,' said Dr David Heymann, executive director of communicable diseases at WHO.

    Unfortunately, in the time it has taken China to act, Sars has gone global, with numbers of sick and dead rising.

    Between Nov 1 and yesterday, there has been a total of 2,600 cases across the world and 90 people have died.

    More than four out of five deaths worldwide have occurred in Guangdong and its southern neighbour, Hongkong.

    All this might have been different if the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had adopted a more responsible attitude towards dealing with the outbreak.

    The CCP Central Secretariat issued a circular to the Chinese official media in October, outlining how it could help maintain a stable and secure environment, to ensure the party's 16th congress last November would be held successfully.

    The circular included a list of 'Dos and Don'ts', including an item on dealing with the possible spread of flu.

    A source with access to the document told The Straits Times that it said: 'Every year between winter and spring, there will be a high incidence of flu and pneumonia in China.'

    Apart from dismissing any outbreak as nothing more than the usual bout of seasonal illness, the circular urged the media to avoid running 'negative news'.

    Such news included unemployment, social unrest, the Falungong and accidents involving many casualties.

    Party secretaries at various levels were warned that they would be held accountable should such bad news break out in their areas.

    The circular suggests that the CCP was fully aware of the possible spread of illness, but decided that the party image had to come first.

    Instead of sounding the alert, the official media were directed towards avoiding news that might mar the party congress.

    Other mistakes, equally avoidable, followed.

    When the Guangdong outbreak began to get out of control and was reported in Hongkong, the Chinese accused the media there of scaremongering.

    Mr Long Yongtu, China's chief negotiator in its efforts to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO), criticised the Hongkong media openly for 'excessive coverage' that would frighten off foreign investors.

    After the long and difficult experience of WTO negotiations, he was one of China's few officials to have a grasp of the norms and expectations of the international community.

    Yet, when it came to the outbreak of an unusual killer disease, he also wanted the media to play it down.

    The result was that instead of initiating action to deal with the disease, China politicised the issue and erected a barricade in self-defence.

    It claimed that the WHO's requests to do field work in Guangdong, as well as identifying the province as the source of Sars, were politically motivated.

    A Ministry of Health official even threatened to scrap cooperation with the WHO if it continued calling Guangdong the source of the disease.

    'The fact that HIV and Aids cases were first reported in the United States does not mean that the fatal epidemic originated there,' Health Minister Zhang Wenkang was quoted as saying.

    To the Chinese, pressure from the WHO coupled with American media calls to ban travel to China added up to a political conspiracy.

    It was only when the World Economic Forum cancelled its April summit meeting in Beijing - which would have been an opportunity to showcase China's economic success - that the country appeared to wake up to the reality of Sars.

    It finally started issuing updates on the number of people who are sick and dead.

    And when Vice-Premier Wu Yi announced plans to step up action and public education last week, China even said sorry for the way it had handled the crisis.
     
  2. Sherrie

    Sherrie
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2002
    Messages:
    10,274
    Likes Received:
    0
    Su...what is a "Party secretaries".

    Now, why was there a cover up? Wouldn't it have been better for the Party to have it aired, and show they were cleaning it up?

    Oh Su....those poor people who have to live over there. Treated like that. Now look at the mess they are stuck in. Now look at the mess everyones in. And all Cina can do is finally say I am sorry.

    Sherrie
     
  3. Su Wei

    Su Wei
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2003
    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    0
    if i'm not wrong communist party officials. like state politicians.

    yup. this is what makes me so angry too. :mad: It was a cover up because nothing bad is supposed to go wrong when the CCP is in charge. So they'd rather censor the news, and pretend no problem exsists. But now they have to deal with a much much bigger problem. :rolleyes:

    life in China is cheap. :( you see in the article they expect people to die every year at this period from pneumonia. so they thought this year was no different it'll just run its usual course.

    the news censorship is still pretty much in effect. over here, we get to watch some of their daily news bullentins. i notice they didn't mention SARS. Here is Singapore, half the news is SARS and the other half is the war.

    And people in China interviewed in china by our news people showed little or no concern for this disease. They are ignorant of the danger they are in!
     
  4. Su Wei

    Su Wei
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2003
    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    0
    Article taken from THe Straits Times

    China: Under control in Guangdong
    Rate of new infections has dropped with disease also becoming less severe as it is passed on; Shanghai records first case

    By Goh Sui Noi

    BEIJING - Guangdong province, where the first Sars cases were found last November, yesterday declared the outbreak there under control.




    GUANGDONG PROVINCE: 1,205 cases, 43 deaths

    GUANGXI REGION: 12 cases,
    3 deaths

    SHANXI PROVINCE: 32 cases,
    1 death

    SICHUAN PROVINCE: 4 cases,
    1 death

    HUNAN PROVINCE: 6 cases, 1 death

    BEIJING: 19 cases, 4 deaths

    SHANGHAI: 1 case, no deaths

    TOTAL: 1,279 cases, 53 deaths





    Shanghai, meanwhile, is believed to have sought the help of the World Health Organisation (WHO) after recording its first confirmed case of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

    Mr Huang Qingdao, director of Guangdong province's Department of Health, yesterday told a news conference that the rate of new infections this month had dropped to 7.5 a day from 12 a day last month and 24.5 a day in February.

    He added that the disease had peaked during February 3 to 14, with 688 people infected and 28 deaths for that entire month.

    There were 53 new Sars cases in the first seven days of this month, he said, adding that these were just three more than what the central government had announced for the province on Monday.

    'From this, we can see that atypical pneumonia in Guangdong has been effectively controlled. Our preventive measures have been effective,' he declared yesterday.

    Guangdong has been hardest hit by the virus in China.

    Health Ministry figures yesterday showed there were 43 deaths and 1,205 cases in the province, compared with the national total of 53 and 1,279 respectively.

    The WHO team of experts who were in Guangdong until yesterday to investigate the disease outbreak there have concurred that the infection rate has been dropping.

    Team leader Robert Breiman noted that the infections were 'occurring in lower frequency' in Guangdong.

    'We've seen more and more evidence of subsequent generations of the disease out here being less severe and people, as they move further on in the generation cycle, transmit it less frequently,' he told Reuters.

    Team member Wolfgang Preiser yesterday said the likeliest cause of the mysterious disease was the coronavirus, known to infect animals, even as Guangdong health official Huang Huahua maintained that Chinese scientists could not find the coronavirus in patients' specimen samples.

    Dr Breiman was quoted by AFP saying that China did not have the technology to test for coronavirus and had made a verbal agreement to either import the technology or send samples abroad for testing, but that WHO was still waiting for further moves.

    The WHO team returned to Beijing yesterday evening.

    Members will meet Health Minister Zhang Wenkang this morning and after that, Vice-Premier Wu Yi, who has taken over the responsibility of handling the outbreak of Sars.

    Meanwhile, The Straits Times has learnt that Shanghai notified WHO immediately after the city discovered the first confirmed Sars case.

    Its officials have asked for a WHO team to be sent to Shanghai. WHO has agreed to do so and the details are still being worked out.

    Yesterday, in what looked like a media exercise to show that Shanghai and China were safe to visit, the People's Daily website quoted a European business leader as saying that he was optimistic about the health safety of Shanghai and the whole of China.

    'Certainly I feel Shanghai is a safe city, otherwise I wouldn't have come,' said Dr Christoph Leitl, president of the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry, who was leading a team of 30 Austrians in a formal visit to the city.

    Doctors had said he had the same chance of catching Sars in Shanghai or in Austria, he was quoted as saying.

    In its 9 pm bulletin, CCTV4 showed foreign tourists arriving in Beijing and Shanghai, none wearing masks and freely telling television reporters they were happy to be in China. They were not asked about Sars.
    ----------------------------

    my comment: who can believe China now???
    I think the numbers are but a tip of the iceberg.

    :(
     
  5. Sherrie

    Sherrie
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2002
    Messages:
    10,274
    Likes Received:
    0
    There is no way that it is safe to go there. I do not think we can get a plane to go there now. I think all flights are canceled.

    But Su...who does pay for treatments and hospital cost for those people? Even if living there is cheap...its poverty from things I have seen. I am thinking those people could not afford the treatment if they had to.

    I also think maybe China thought since population is so high....China's reaction was "Who cares!"

    Sherrie
     
  6. Sherrie

    Sherrie
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2002
    Messages:
    10,274
    Likes Received:
    0
  7. Su Wei

    Su Wei
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2003
    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    0
    " Singapore's Roman Catholic Church reportedly ordered its priests to stop hearing confessions."

    [​IMG] did you see this one?

    There is a conspiracy of silence in China.
    people are afraid of doing or saying anything that might be deemed "politically incorrect" in the eyes of the ruling CCP.
     
  8. Sherrie

    Sherrie
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2002
    Messages:
    10,274
    Likes Received:
    0
    Where was that at? I missed it somehow. I want to see that. [​IMG]

    Sherrie
     
  9. Sherrie

    Sherrie
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2002
    Messages:
    10,274
    Likes Received:
    0
    [​IMG] I see it now! [​IMG]

    Sherrie
     
  10. Su Wei

    Su Wei
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2003
    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sherrie, i heard on the news the other day that China is now offering financial help for medical costs of SARS patients.

    (Can't find an article on it on the web.)

    I guess that answers your question! [​IMG]
     
  11. Sherrie

    Sherrie
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2002
    Messages:
    10,274
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok...so why doesn't someone sue China. It was there fault they did not handle the situation correctly. Why doesn't someone get cocky, and take it for what its worth, and File! Do it early, so they do not have time to think up a law that says they can't. [​IMG] :rolleyes:

    The financial help they will offer...I bet those people who accept...will have to pay back.

    Sherrie
     
  12. Su Wei

    Su Wei
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2003
    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    0
    Article taken from THe Straits TImes
    China drops claims that virus is under control
    Health officials change tack as country sees another 17 cases, with Fujian and Inner Mongolia being the new areas hit

    By Jason Leow

    BEIJING - China yesterday recorded another 17 Sars cases, as top Chinese officials backpedalled on earlier claims that the virus had been kept under control.

    A World Health Organisation team inspecting Beijing's health system complained that the authorities had kept them out of military hospitals, where there may be more Sars cases than Beijing has revealed.



    The Chinese Health Ministry yesterday did not reveal where the new cases were found, but said Fujian and Inner Mongolia were the newly affected areas.

    Fujian had three cases and Inner Mongolia reported 17 cases and three deaths.

    Guangdong had 1,273 cases, including 45 deaths. Shanxi reported 82 cases and seven deaths. Beijing recorded 37 cases and four deaths.

    Guangxi had 12 cases and three deaths. Hunan had six cases, including one death.

    And Sichuan had four cases and one death.

    The latest development brings China's Sars cases to 1,435, of whom 1,094 have recovered and 64 have died.

    Shanghai, which has one case, also said the local government suspects that there are four more infections.

    President Hu Jintao yesterday appeared in a photograph published on the front pages of all national newspapers, smiling broadly at medical staff of the Disease Prevention and Control Centre in Guangdong, where he had been visiting.

    But unlike previous weeks when the government said it was on top of the situation, Mr Hu's message was sombre.

    He called for an all-out effort to keep Sars from 'spreading and rebounding', the official China Daily said.

    He also urged the government to support front-line medical staff.

    Premier Wen Jiabao also appeared to have changed tack on Sunday, when he said the 'overall situation remains grave'.

    Chinese health officials now say Sars is being 'effectively contained', when they had claimed in the past that the virus was 'effectively controlled'.

    The new phrase emerged after the WHO asked the Chinese government last week to modify its terminology to conform with international medical standards, Reuters reported.

    The WHO, however, appears to be unhappy with Beijing, which has barred its experts from visiting military hospitals, where there are rumoured to be Sars patients not included in official statistics.

    'While the Beijing authorities appear to have contained transmission in some hospitals, they have not yet granted WHO experts permission to visit military hospitals, which have been the focus of numerous rumours,' the WHO website said.

    'WHO staff in Beijing have expressed particular concern about the official response to rumours and the apparent absence of rigorous contact tracing.'

    The experts are expected to update the media this afternoon on the inspections.
     
  13. Su Wei

    Su Wei
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2003
    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    0
    Article taken from The Straits Times

    HOW HOSPITALS ARE MANAGING
    IN HK: Public hospitals may run out of beds if cases rise
    By Mary Kwang

    AS MORE Sars cases continue to surface - more than 400 cases within the space of 10 days - health officials are looking to private hospitals to help ease the burden on the territory's already overstretched government hospitals.

    'The pressure on the whole medical system has reached its maximum point, but the spread of the disease does not appear to have peaked,' Dr Ko Wing Man, acting chief executive of the Hospital Authority (HA), said.

    Advertisement

    HA chairman Leong Che Hung has warned that the number of Sars cases here could reach 1,800 by the end of this month.

    He added that public hospitals may not be able to cope if the number of cases hits 3,000.

    One concern for hospital officials is the number of beds in intensive care units (ICUs) and the availability of trained ICU staff.

    The authorities say that there are about 400 ICU beds in the territory.

    Another concern is the depleted manpower in hospitals, since about a quarter of the total number of Sars patients are medical staff.

    That is why the government is now hoping to rope in private hospitals and is considering paying them for the use of their beds.

    However, costs and the amount of government subsidies to be offered to private hospitals for taking in recovering Sars patients are holding up a decision.

    Sources in the health-care sector say that price is an important factor in swaying private hospitals.

    The government may have to hand out huge subsidies because of the large gap between private and government charges.

    The cost of a bed in a public hospital is only HK$68 (S$16) a day, while the cheapest beds in the private sector can range from HK$330 to HK$610.

    The decision to turn to the private sector is being examined carefully given that there are 29,000 beds and more than 4,500 doctors in 42 public hospitals in the territory.

    On the other hand, the private sector has just 12 hospitals with more than 3,000 beds.

    Ninety-five per cent of people who need hospital care opt for public hospitals, where they can enjoy subsidies of up to 98 per cent of medical costs.

    Dr Lo Wing Lok, chairman of the Hongkong Medical Association, and Professor Sydney Chung, the dean of Chinese University's faculty of medicine, have separately called on the authorities to rationalise medical resources in the public sector.

    Prof Chung suggested that Sars patients be centralised in a few hospitals to curb the spread of the disease.

    At present, they are treated in at least 10 public hospitals.

    But Dr Leong ruled out the suggestion, and said: 'No single hospital has enough beds in its intensive care unit.'
     
  14. Sherrie

    Sherrie
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2002
    Messages:
    10,274
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here we go! Now the tables will be turned and the focus will be on this...I am expecting you to post Protesters and riots soon. Meanwhile...nothing will be done. They should be busting there backs cleaning this up!

    Wonder if this will end up on the UN table? :D :eek:

    Sherrie
     
  15. Su Wei

    Su Wei
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2003
    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    0
    ah... but protests and riots will bring crowds and people are avoiding crowds... :D
     
  16. Sherrie

    Sherrie
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2002
    Messages:
    10,274
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is true!

    Sherrie
     
  17. Su Wei

    Su Wei
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2003
    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    0
    Article taken from THe Straits Times

    Sars: China sacks health minister

    Beijing alone has 346 cases, 10 times more than previous official figure; mayor sacked; week-long May Day holiday off

    By Goh Sui Noi

    BEIJING - China signalled its seriousness in tackling Sars yesterday by sacking two top officials, revealing dramatic new figures of those stricken in Beijing, and scrapping a critical week-long national holiday.

    After Health Minister Zhang Wenkang and Beijing mayor Meng Xuenong failed to show at a much-awaited, televised press conference on Sars, news broke that both had lost their jobs.


    Just over two weeks ago, Mr Zhang was still insisting to the world that China had done no wrong in reporting the deadly atypical pneumonia that first appeared in Guangdong last November.

    He said the number of new cases was down, the number of people cured had gone up, and the Sars epidemic was 'effectively contained'.

    Yesterday, it was Executive Vice-Minister of Health Gao Qiang who faced the media for two hours and presented quite a different picture of a Health Ministry ill-prepared to deal with the outbreak.


    He disclosed that Beijing alone had 346 Sars cases, almost 10 times more than the previous official figure.

    He also announced that the week-long May Day holiday would be cancelled to stop the movement of large numbers of people - especially migrant workers heading home to rural areas - and prevent the further spread of the Sars virus.

    This will hit China's economy hard. Last year, 70 million Chinese travelled around the country during the break, generating 33 billion yuan (S$7 billion) in tourism revenue. Mr Gao acknowledged that the move was drastic and the economy would suffer, but said 'people's lives and health have to be put above everything'.

    'This doesn't mean there will be no travelling and tourism going on,' he said. 'We are just against the massive movement of people.'

    Beijing's moves came after President Hu Jintao ordered an all-out fight against Sars and demanded accurate reporting on the disease, in the face of international criticism that China had been covering up the true extent of Sars.

    Mr Gao, who is deputy secretary-general of the State Council, China's Cabinet, assumed his health ministry post only in the past week.

    He was appointed to a committee looking into the World Health Organisation's criticisms of under-reporting of Sars cases by Beijing's hospitals.

    Fielding questions yesterday, he admitted China's Health Ministry was not well-prepared to deal with a sudden public health hazard and its epidemic prevention system was weak.

    'Following the Sars outbreak, the ministry did not take timely action to formulate a unified collecting, processing and reporting system nationwide, or give clear-cut instructions or effective guidance,' he said. But he insisted there was no evidence of any intentional cover-up by anyone.

    Up till Saturday, officials had said there were 37 Sars cases and four deaths in Beijing. Yesterday's figure of 346 cases was sharply higher than even the WHO's 'guesstimate' of between 100 and 200 cases.

    Mr Gao described the situation in Beijing as 'very serious', with 18 dead and another 402 suspected cases.

    His team fanned out last week to Beijing's 175 hospitals, which are variously under the purview of the city's municipal government, the central government, the People's Liberation Army and other government agencies, to review their Sars data.

    He promised that the government would spare no expense to contain Sars. 'We'll spend as much as it takes to cope with the disease.'

    A priority was to prevent the spread to rural areas, which for now appear relatively unaffected.

    He admitted that the consequences would be 'very grim' if Sars reached backward regions, where medical facilities were poor.

    Scrapping the May Day holiday was a step towards preventing any sick migrant workers from taking Sars to their hometowns and villages.

    From now, migrant workers would be given the same medical treatment as urban residents - a medical benefit they were denied previously.

    Last night, Beijing looked set to have a man from Hainan as its new mayor, with reports that the province's party secretary Wang Qishan had been recalled to the capital.

    -------------------------------------

    my comment: Compare this to the first article posted on this thread about how the govt was trying to cover any bad news in preparation for the hand over of leadership!!!
    poor sods. I guess The CCP needed someone to blame. :(
     

Share This Page

Loading...