Bleats

China's Efforts To Conceal Coronavirus Truths Reads Like A RL Spy Thriller

What's China trying to hide, if there is even anything to hide?

Ever since the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, the world has been more or less been united in trying to contain and combat the terrifying disease. But there are increasing signs that China may not be entirely truthful when it comes to sharing information and transparency about what is happening at ground zero, so much so it almost feels like we’re treading dangerously into real-life conspiracy territory.

Speaking of the coronavirus, the GOAT team unpack all the info surrounding the disease on It’s Been A Big Day For… below:

We’ve known for a while that China is pretty fond of bending the truth to serve whatever narrative that suits them the best (with wide-reaching consequences) and it seems like even the onset of a worldwide pandemic isn’t enough for the Chinese authorities to break their bad habits.

Following reports that China tried to silence Dr. Li Wenliang, the first doctor who caught wind of the coronavirus and tried to blow the whistle on the deadly disease (before trying to cover up details of his tragic death and silencing internet tributes to him), the Chinese authorities are up to more of their shenanigans as it is reported that they’ve now arrested citizen journalist, Fang Bin.

For those who are unaware who Fang Bin is, he is citizen journalist who became well known for sharing a viral video of corpses piling up at a Wuhan crematorium, as well as other revealing videos detailing what’s happening in the city following the coronavirus outbreak.

Fang Bin’s revealing videos have cast doubt on the information released by China regarding coronavirus infection and casualty numbers and it appears that the Chinese authorities want to take back control of the narrative by silencing the him.

According to local media reports, Fang Bin was arrested on Monday, February 10, by police officers after refusing requests to leave his apartment. The authorities reportedly surrounded his home and he was taken into custody after firefighters broke down the door.

It seems like Fang Bin was anticipating retaliation for his coronavirus coverage. He posted a video a few days before his arrest, saying that he’ll keep sharing videos every morning so the world knew he was safe. However, no video was posted on Monday.

Fang Bin is just the latest in a list of journalists, lawyers and doctors who have been silenced by China for trying to spread the word about what’s really happening in Wuhan. This all reads like a conspiracy spy thriller playing out in real life and it begs the question: what is China trying to hide regarding the coronavirus?

It must be noted that while all those videos from citizen journalists like Fang Bin are unverified, the response from Chinese authorities – and their history of silencing journalists – makes it seem like they’re trying to cover something up.

At the time of writing, China has confirmed (via CNN) that the coronavirus has killed more than 1,000 people globally and infected over 40,000 people. However, some folk on Reddit have done some napkin math and found that the numbers released by China were suspiciously in line with their makeshift mathematic model, so much so that Reddit was able to accurately predict the fatality numbers released by Chinese authorities ahead of time.

While the model is far from an accurate prediction of the coronavirus’ death toll (and the creator admits it), the fact that the released info from China corresponds so closely to some fudged numbers, all while not taking into account real-life factors such as the effects of mass quarantine lock-down, it suggests that China may not be entirely truthful with the world.

There’s… something here.

From silencing journalists to seemingly suss casualty and infection numbers that don’t quite gel with apparent footage from Wuhan, one can’t help but feel like some sort of conspiracy is at play here.

But like the ridiculous “Simpsons predicted coronavirus and Kobe Bryant’s death” conspiracy, let’s try and keep a level head about all this because otherwise we’re going to descend into misinformation territory and that’s a slippery slope we don’t need to tread near.

We can’t confirm what exactly is going on in Wuhan and whether China is being truthful or lying to us. What we can confirm is that the coronavirus is real and terrifying, and the misinformation campaigns going around are hindering efforts to fight and understand of the disease. Best be on your guard because it sounds like things are going to get worse before it gets better.

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

Coronavirus Pushed The Relationship With My Asian Mum To Breaking Point

A breakdown that was over two decades in the making.

With reports of new infections and casualties coming in seemingly everyday, the coronavirus outbreak has caused the world to be on its guard and rightfully so. The disease is absolutely terrifying and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be at least a little scared.

While Australia has been largely okay so far, the few confirmed cases of coronavirus in our country has caused some Asian parents to go way over the top when it comes to protecting themselves and their families from the disease. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered streets so devoid of Asian people, nor have I ever witness such a shortage of face masks and hand sanitiser.

Speaking of the coronavirus, the GOAT team break down the outbreak of the disease and what it all means on It’s Been A Big Day For… below:

My mum is a Chinese immigrant and fiercely patriotic to the “homeland” (this’ll become important later) so I copped this sort of coronavirus paranoia first-hand. Like a broken record player stuck on loop, she would repeatedly tell me things like “Make sure you stay inside! Wear a face mask! Use hand sanitiser!” It’s incredibly irritating but this sort of stuff is not that unusual. Hell, that’s what she says every flu season.

But this coronavirus outbreak was a different beast. My mum has never really fully accepted my career choice to be a journalist/writer and passively-aggressively resents the fact that I chose reporting over engineering – something which I’m sure folks with Asian parents can relate to.

Combine my journalism career, my mum’s aforementioned patriotism and resentment, the amount of misinformation going around about the coronavirus, and one dinner conversation encompassing all of the above, what you get is a complete shattering of our relationship. I never had the closest relationship with my mum before but this was the first time I ever thought this of her: she is a f**king idiot and a complete lost cause.

Here’s a summary of how it all went down but in short, the breakdown of the relationship between my mum and I happened started slowly before escalating exponentially like, well, the spread of the coronavirus actually:

  • She starts telling me how Chinese people are eating bats as a cure for the disease, to which I simply had to say isn’t real or true and to tell her (for the 1000th time) to stop taking things on Facebook at face value.
  • She then says everything is fake news anyway and she doesn’t believe anything besides what the Chinese government puts out. Swallowing my incredulity over her admission that she believes China’s propaganda, I tell her to maybe read reputable news sources such as The Guardian and The New York Times, only to be told that they’re all fake news and all journalists aren’t trustworthy. There was no trace of irony whatsoever.
  • From the coronavirus, she turns her attention to the Hong Kong protests. Not only does she stamp her foot on the pro-Beijing side of things, she tells me that the Americans were actually paying protesters to riot, which is definitely NOT TRUE.
  • In a last ditch attempt to tell her that’s fake information, she simply pats me on the head and says I’ve been brainwashed by the American media.

At the end of all that, I was just deflated had only one response left in me:

Now it would’ve been salvageable had this been an isolated incident, but this pattern of me trying to explain things and my mum condescendingly insulting me and my profession with no sense of self-awareness has happened several times in the past and she always brushed it off with an Asian parent equivalent of “it’s just a joke, bro”. It seems like this time it was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back.

Since then, I’ve not spoken to my mum nor do I think I will for a long time. But in getting all this stuff about my mum out in the open, I’m now wondering what exactly am I trying to say here about our relationship and the coronavirus.

Is this a piece on the dangers of misinformation about the disease (and Hong Kong) and how we need to be more vigilant on fake news? I guess, and we do need to be more vigilant due to the way social media works and how China is sort of pseudo-authoritarianism in its actions and propaganda this days.

Is this a scathing critique on how Asian parents are detrimental to one’s mental health? You could read it like that because they can indeed be the absolute worst, but my situation may be more of an exception to the rule since I don’t think many Asian parents are on the same crazy wavelength as my mum.

Or is this just the ramblings of a guy with some unresolved parental issues trying to process everything that’s happened in the last few months? You won’t get any arguments from me on that.

Perhaps the relationship between my mum and I was always going to breakdown one way or another regardless of the coronavirus scare. In a way, it’s sort of sad that it had to happen, but in another way it is incredibly freeing because a big burden of pressure and unwanted mental anguish has been lifted from my shoulders.

I used to sarcastically tell my friends that if I stayed in Australia then I’ll be safe from the coronavirus. It turns out my claims that the disease will never affect me was completely wrong. But instead of breaking down my body, it broke down whatever relationship I had left with my mum.

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

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