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On Sunday, Beijing released a lengthy report defending their handling of the virus crisis as global criticism grows. The state’s recorded death toll of 4,634 is widely viewed as unrealistic and families of COVID-19 victims have been speaking out to demand a full investigation into the epidemic and how it was initially dealt with.
But the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been accused of gagging anyone working to expose its handling of the sickness which has so far killed 406,929 people across the world.
Yang Min, 49, from Wuhan lost her only daughter to the virus in February, The Times reports.
The 24-year-old, named as Tian Yuxi, succumbed to the disease after contracting it in mid-January.
As Mrs Yang watched her only daughter suffer from the illness, the country’s health chiefs were yet to say whether the virus could be transmitted from person to person.
This meant the city’s 11 million residents continued to live as normal.
People were out on the streets and were using public transport without any masks or gloves as the virus continued to spread like wildfire.
Plans were being made to celebrate the Lunar New Year, China’s largest holiday, as the number of infections soared and more and more people died.
The Chinese government did not admit human to human transmission of coronavirus was likely until January 20.
The Chinese government said in its report it hadn’t “covered anything up”.
Grieving from the loss of her daughter, Mrs Yang is reported to have taken to the streets of Wuhan after the city emerged from lockdown in April.
She was determined to not let her child become just another statistic and so conducted a public campaign for three key demands to be met.
She walked between traffic on busy roads handing out leaflets calling for justice.
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Her key demands were for an open investigation into the alleged cover-up of coronavirus and for victims’ families to be given a public apology and financial compensation.
She also set herself up on a pavement with a handwritten sign and a framed photo of her beloved daughter.
The cardboard sign read: “The government hid the truth of COVID-19.
“Bring me back my daughter.”
Before long, police are accused of intervening and putting a stop to her campaign by ordering her to remain on house arrest.
Mrs Yang is just one of many people who have been allegedly gagged by authorities as they tried to speak out.
Some families of coronavirus victims approached human rights lawyer Chen Jiangang before the CCP began cracking down.
But Mr Chen, who last year fled to the United States following threats to his family, said communication has since ceased.
He said: “The families of the deceased no longer dare to communicate or to try to hold the government accountable.
“The CCP can hurt them and their families at any time.
“They are in great fear and now almost nothing can be done.”
He said the families believe the government is guilty of wrongdoing and abusing its power.
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