China coronavirus: Expert reveals why Beijing’s coronavirus death toll ‘cannot be true’

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The Chinese city of Wuhan was where the virus first took hold back in December, but since then various aspects of Beijing’s information has been questioned and even discredited. In April, for example, Wuhan’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic was revised, adding 1,290 fatalities to the city’s toll, taking the confirmed count to 3,869 from a previously reported 2,579. However, expert on Chinese politics Steve Tsang, told that these numbers should also be treated with scepticism.

This is because, at the time, the revised figure happened to be exactly 50 percent more than the previous estimation.

Professor Tsang said in April: “The death rate we are seeing across the countries that have suffered comparable level of infection, it’s the Chinese figures that are too good to be true.

“And then when they revised the figure for Wuhan, again it is too good to be true because the increase was exactly 50 percent.

“Not 50.1 percent, not 49.9 percent, but exactly 50 percent.

“This is like somebody said ‘the figures look a bit dodgy, let’s just add 50 percent.”

Not only do the suspect nature of the numbers suggest discrepancies in China’s information, but Professor Tsang also discussed chilling reports coming from Wuhan.

They suggest that crematoriums are working at full capacity in the city.

Professor Tsang added: “You then have the issue that Wuhan has a monthly I think is about 6,000, in a city of 11 million.

“With the official death rate, even if you consider the five million that left Wuhan before lockdown, the monthly increase in the death rate was still only a 1000-2000 increase.

“This shouldn’t need extra capacity at crematoriums, but there have been reports that the crematoriums are working non-stop, with staff coming in from elsewhere to help.”

China has been accused of trying to cover up the crisis early on.

The world was first alerted to coronavirus in December 2019, but one of the whistleblowers – Li Wenliang, a doctor in Wuhan – was punished for warning other doctors of a new SARS-like disease in a WhatsApp chat.

After catching the coronavirus, Li died in early February and caused Chinese internet to overflow with anti-government messages despite the country’s strict censorship.

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The doctor has been officially exonerated by an investigation into his death, although some argue this did not go far enough as only the reprimand was withdrawn.

While the coronavirus threat reached other countries, China’s attempts to prevent news of the disease travelling has been condemned.

Professor Tsang said secrecy has always been the default response for the Communist Party in Beijing.

He added: “So I think the early stages of the lack of transparency isn’t the result of any particular conspiracy or ill-intention to move – the party doesn’t do transparency as a normal course of action.”

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