The official virus statistics for China as reported by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as of Monday are these:

Total Cases: 81,470

New Cases (last 24 hours): 31

Total Deaths: 3,304

New Deaths (last 24 hours): 4

Total Recovered: 75,700

Total Active Cases: 2,466

Total Critical Cases: 633

Total Cases Per 1 Mil Population: 57

Total Deaths Per 1 Mil Population: 2

That’s out of a total population of about approximate 1.4 billion Chinese. Are these numbers believable given what we have learned about the virus since it was first disclosed to the China-friendly World Health Organization on 31 December? The virus was spreading unchecked in Hubei province for over two months before any quarantine measures were implemented. Yet somehow, in a culture in which communal meals are taken and close quarters contacts are the rule not the exception, only 81,000 people were infected?

Furthermore, consider this: of the 3,304 total Chinese deaths, a total of 2,531 of those deaths were reported by the ChiCom government to be in a single city – Wuhan. But Wuhan wasn’t quarantined until 23 January, and an estimated 5 million people left Wuhan on Chinese New Year travel before the city was locked down. Given what we know about the highly contagious nature of the virus, are we to believe that the spreading of the virus by some of those New Years travelers from Wuhan only resulted in about 800 more deaths in the rest of the country?

Is it believable that the ChiComs are reporting that they’ve got the virus under control to the point that the only new cases are the result of “imported cases” (people entering China)? Here is what the state-run China Daily claimed on Sunday:

With only one locally transmitted case in Central China’s Henan province, the rest of the infections were all imported cases detected from 15 provincial-level regions, the commission said.

But hey! It’s not just the state-run Chinese media who are trumpeting China’s “success” in dealing with the virus. Here is The Wall Street Journal on Monday parroting the ChiComs’ propaganda about those statistics, as well as China “getting back to work”:

China’s major industrial provinces fully resumed production on Monday, a top government official said, two months after a near-nationwide shutdown of factories, workplaces and retail outlets because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The revving up of China’s economic engine contrasts with the situation in the U.S., which on Sunday extended social-distancing guidelines until the end of April as coronavirus infections continued to surge across the country and globally. Many businesses are likely to operate at reduced capacity or remain closed during this period.

China’s National Health Commission reported 31 new infections Monday, almost all of which were among people who were recently abroad, taking the country’s total to 81,470. Hubei province recorded no new cases but had four new deaths in Wuhan, the center of the health crisis in the country.

Chinese state media reported that shopping malls in Wuhan reopened for business Monday morning after being shut for two months. Shoppers have to scan a QR code with their mobile phones at the entrances to verify their health status before they are allowed to enter.

That is some shameful reporting! The WSJ blithely reports ChiCom-provided statistics without any independent checking. Speaking of which, here is some from China Scope, a 501c3 nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, DC, which provides some critical insight into the probably number of deaths in just Wuhan alone:

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has loosened the lockdown in Wuhan, the epicenter of the Novel Coronavirus. Starting on March 23, the city distributed cinerary urns of the deaths. Earlier, the city was locked down and thus relatives could not go to the funeral homes to pick up the urns that held their loved ones’ ashes.

This gave people a way to estimate the coronavirus death count in Wuhan, which people believe the CCP has been hiding from the public. The government announced 2,531 deaths in Wuhan.

Radio Free Asia reported that the funeral homes said that they would distribute 500 caskets or urns per day and try to complete the distribution before the Qing Ming Festival (a Chinese festival to sweep the tombs and worship the departed). There will be 12 days from March 23 to the Qing Ming Festival (April 4, 2020). Since there are 7 funeral homes, the total caskets distributed will be 500 x 12 x 7, or 42,000.

Another estimate was based on the number of incinerators. Wuhan has 84 incinerators. Assuming 65 functioned normally, each one ran around the clock, and each body took an hour to burn, that would be 65 x 24 = 1,560 bodies per day. Taking out 200 regular deaths each day would leave 1,360 coronavirus deaths per day. In 30 days, the death count will be 40,800.

A person who requested anonymity told Radio Free Asia that Wuhan funeral homes processed about 28,000 corpses during the peak month of the epidemic. “Each funeral home could only report their numbers to the city, but were not allowed to share with other funeral homes.”

And these numbers are just for the city of Wuhan alone and don’t account for Hubei province in general, let alone the rest of China. What could the total number of cases and death really be, and do the ChiComs truly have the virus contained?

Then there are reports that the Chinese people don’t believe the government’s claim that it’s safe to get back to work:

Beijing’s efforts to get people back to work in China have been met with widespread opposition from citizens who do not trust government assurances that the virus outbreak is under control.

The problem is most acute for residents of Hubei, the province worst affected by coronavirus. A strict lockdown of the province ended on Wednesday, but many of its 6m residents who work in other parts of China are finding it impossible to leave as other local authorities defy central government orders and refuse to lift travel restrictions.

If the Chinese people themselves (after decades of first-hand experience!) don’t believe the CCP regime, why should we? Better yet, why should any ostensibly reputable Western media organization like The Wall Street Journal simply parrot CCP propaganda?

What’s the bottom line? Simple logic dictates that the ChiComs are lying about their virus statistics, and independent reports from China are beginning to confirm that fact. The Trump Administration – especially the State Dept – needs to exert maximum diplomatic pressure on the ChiComs to come clean on reporting everything about the virus, including all of their laboratory and clinical data such as virus sequencing results. It’s not about “saving face;” it’s about saving lives.

The end.

Stu Cvrk
Stu Cvrk served 30 years in the US Navy in a variety of active and reserve capacities, with considerable operational experience in the Middle East and the Western Pacific. An oceanographer and systems analyst through education and experience, Stu is a graduate of the US Naval Academy where he received a classical liberal education which serves as the key foundation for his political commentary. He threads daily on Twitter on a wide range of political, military, foreign policy, government, economics, and world affairs topics.
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