Monday, April 14, 2003
China's threat

There are people in American and other western democracies that wonder how a country like China could possibly be a threat to the world. Here is why nations with state-controlled-everything threaten us every day:

China admits SARS hit Beijing on March 1, weeks before acknowledged

The revelation adds weight to claims by a military doctor that the scale of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic in Beijing was covered up because it clashed with the annual sitting of China's parliament.

It also came as the World Health Organisation revealed another four people had died from SARS in China, bringing the total death toll here to 64.

Dr. Jiang Yanyong, 72, told journalists last week that shortly after the parliament session started on March 5 an elderly man was admitted to hospital 301, and after it was suspected that he had SARS he was transferred to hospital 302.

At hospital 302, he infected close to 10 doctors and nurses, and died shortly afterwards, Jiang said. His wife was also admitted to hospital 302 and also died within a short period of time.

"At this time, the health ministry called the leaders of all the hospitals to a meeting," said Jiang.

"The main contents of that meeting was that Beijing now has this disease, but in order to maintain discipline it is not to be made public. It is necessary to create stable conditions for the NPC."

In short, the Chinese government put their political schedule ahead of public safety. This kind of government behavior is totally irresponsible and is a threat to the global community, which becomes smaller and smaller every year. This brings back memories of the early 80's. It took years for the US government to acknowledge HIV/AIDS, while it was spreading like mad around our country and around the world. President Reagan did not publicly acknowledge the disease until 1986, a good 4 years after it became a regular part of the local news broadcasts here in San Francisco. It makes you wonder how many lives could have been saved had our government acknowledged the problem and pushed forward with research and education, instead of brushing it aside as a gay and IV drug user's problem.

Obviously there is a difference between a flu-like illness and a terminal disease, but the government's silence results in the same: a public that unknowingly partakes in behavior that can infect or kill their fellow citizens. And because of China's silence, their public may have infected many, many more people than they would have had they known the truth sooner. It makes me wonder.

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