Voices Against Autocracy (VAA) revealed that in addition to censorship, the Chinese government has changed the norms and procedures to force doctors to conceal COVID-related fatalities or postpone updating them on death certificates.
The official tally of COVID deaths in China has likewise stopped including deaths that happened outside of hospitals. Amid mounting international pressure, China disclosed that between early December and mid-December 2022, 60,000 COVID-related deaths had been reported.
The amount is significant given that China has maintained a mortality toll of roughly 5,000 since the coronavirus pandemic’s start. Many people believed the true number to be far higher, and they charged Beijing with underreporting, according to VAA. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) pleaded with China for “more thorough” information because it was worried that the seriousness of the virus epidemics there was being understated.
The number of infections in China started to rise near the end of December, and hospitals started to get busy. Many people were spotted sleeping on floors because they couldn’t find beds. Even the crematoriums and funeral facilities were entirely full, and there were days-long lines of dead waiting to be buried. The growing number of COVID-19 patients received little response from the Chinese government.
Regular health advisories were no longer published by the government, which contributed to the COVID-19 situation’s confusion. Wu Zunyou, a renowned Chinese scientist and government official, claimed in a social media post that more than 80% of China’s population was COVID-infected. According to VAA, the Chinese government has instructed doctors not to cite COVID as a cause of death in notices and circulars.
“On the death certificate, we fill in one main cause of death, and two to three sub-causes of death, so we basically leave out COVID,” a doctor in a Shanghai-based hospital said. According to a doctor from Liaoning Province going by the pseudonym Liu Chen, it is against government regulations to count COVID patient fatalities brought on by the worsening of underlying illnesses as COVID deaths. People have complained that deaths caused by COVID in China are being classified as “heart disorders,” “pneumonia,” or “underlying diseases.”
Song Guo-cheng, a researcher at National Chengchi University, believes that Beijing’s most recent death toll announcements are still suspect. “The information obtained from various sources and online reports is in sharp contrast with the COVID figures disclosed by the Chinese Communist Party. This underscores that the CCP is still playing with the data, covering up the true scale of the outbreak,” Song said.
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