China is still refusing to release vital data into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The highly-contagious virus first surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan in 2019 before spreading and mutating across the planet.
Two years later, Beijing has blocked an independent investigation after being accused of a major cover-up.
Even patience at the World Health Organization is running out.
“We need to continue until we know the origins, we need to push harder because we should learn from what happened this time in order to [do] better in the future,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the WHO, told a media briefing on Tuesday.
- China has mountains of stats.
- But tends to release only positive numbers to brandish the Party’s credentials.
- Bad news is usually suppressed or watered down.
- In June, chunks of coronavirus data that went missing for more than a year miraculously turned up.
- Scientists in the United States discovered at least 200 genetic sequences from patients infected in the initial outbreak.
What was said: Jesse Bloom, a virologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, wrote at the time that it seemed “likely the sequences were deleted to obscure their existence.”
Delve deeper: China has always had a transparency issue. So, it was hardly surprising that the initial Covid-19 crisis in Wuhan was shrouded in secrecy.
Witch hunt: A major cover-up by the ruling Communist Party triggered a witch hunt against “whistleblowers” and medical staff warning of an impending epidemic.
Victim of secrecy: Citizen journalist Zhang Zhan went missing after her online reports showed the chaos that followed after the Wuhan outbreak. She was later sentenced to four years in prison in 2020 for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.”
The truth is out there: “[Zhang Zhan] stands for the truth, and she stands for justice. And she represents the very best of China,” Jane Wang, the British-based activist campaigning for her release, told the NBC news network last week.
Big picture: China has reported just 100,467 cases and only 4,636 deaths. The figures are incredibly low for a population of nearly 1.4 billion. The numbers have become a source of pride for the Communist Party and its policies. Critics have questioned the figures.
Global disaster: Nearly 276 million people have been infected by the virus. The death toll is close to 5.4 million.
China Factor comment: Hell will probably freeze over before the Communist Party reveal the true extent of the biggest disaster to hit the world in the 21st century.