Wuhan Residents Commemorate COVID-19 Victims During New Year Holiday

Wuhan Residents Commemorate COVID-19 Victims During New Year Holiday
A health worker waits for members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team investigating the origins of the COVID-19 on a balcony at Wuhan Hilton Optics Valley hotel in Wuhan, China, on Feb. 6, 2021. (HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Nicole Hao
During the Lunar New Year holiday, the Chinese regime claimed that there were no new domestic CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus infections in the country. However, full lockdowns were still in place in Hebei, Jilin, and Heilongjiang provinces.
“This is a political ‘zero.’ The virus outbreak in China is still very serious,” Wuhan resident surnamed Wu told the Chinese-language Epoch Times in a Saturday phone interview. “The figures that the [Chinese] government released is fake...They know clearly about the outbreak, but won’t tell people.”
Meanwhile, an insider from Changchun city in Jilin Province said there was recently a cluster outbreak at a local hospital.

Wuhan’s Flowers

On the first few days of the Lunar New Year, which began on Feb. 12, fresh flowers were sold out in Wuhan, the city where the virus first broke out. Many florists told state-run media on Feb. 14 that they hadn't rested for the past 50 hours, in order to continue preparing bouquet orders.

Wuhan residents told The Epoch Times that the city has a local custom that in the first three days of the Lunar New Year, people buy marigold or chrysanthemum bouquets to memorialize family members who have died in the past year.

“All flowers were sold out, reflecting that the virus death toll is huge and much higher than the official announced numbers,” said Wuhan resident Zhang Hai in an interview. “There are families I know that lost their loved ones exactly on Lunar New Year day last year.”

The outbreak was at its most severe in winter 2020. Wuhan hospitals were overwhelmed with patients who had severe symptoms. Authorities also ordered the construction of 14 emergency makeshift hospitals to treat 12,000 COVID-19 patients.

The Epoch Times also obtained internal data that showed authorities underreported infections. The city claims that 50,333 people in Wuhan were diagnosed with COVID-19, of whom 3,869 have died.
An aerial view of the Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan, China, on Jan. 28, 2021. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
An aerial view of the Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan, China, on Jan. 28, 2021. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

From Feb. 12 to Feb. 14, the hottest topic among Wuhan people on Chinese social media platforms was flowers. Videos shared on Weibo and WeChat showed florists making bouquets and long queues waiting at local flower shops.

“The price of a single chrysanthemum is 150 yuan ($23) now,” one Wuhan resident complained in a video he shared on Weibo on Friday. The regular price of a single chrysanthemum in Wuhan is usually less than 20 yuan ($3).
“Before, all streets were full of marigolds and chrysanthemums to sell. But this year, it’s hard to buy them,” a Wuhan resident who wished to remain anonymous told the Chinese-language Epoch Times in a Saturday interview. He believed that the city’s virus death toll must be much greater than what the government has announced.
Interviewees told The Epoch Times that they couldn’t buy flowers because most florists were sold out.

A Wuhan Family

Zhong bought some white-colored chrysanthemum for her son Peng Yi (pseudonym), who passed away due to COVID-19 on Feb. 19, 2020.
Zhong said in an interview that last year, because local authorities said the disease was not contagious, his family decided to have a big meal at a restaurant on the evening of Jan. 20, 2020. “At that time, almost all restaurants in Wuhan were full of diners because the regime told us the [COVID-19] pneumonia wouldn't transmit among humans,” he said.
Wuhan resident Zhong presents white chrysanthemum flowers to remember her son, who passed away from COVID-19 in 2020, in Wuhan, China on Feb. 12, 2021. (Provided to The Epoch Times)
Wuhan resident Zhong presents white chrysanthemum flowers to remember her son, who passed away from COVID-19 in 2020, in Wuhan, China on Feb. 12, 2021. (Provided to The Epoch Times)

Then, the city entered a full lockdown three days later. Peng, Zhong’s son, started to experience symptoms on Jan. 24, 2020, and was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Jan. 29.

“The hospital was full of patients, and we couldn’t find any hospital that could treat my son,” Zhong recalled.

Zhong and all her family members tried their best to find a hospital with available space. Finally, Peng was admitted into the Wuhan People’s Hospital, Optics Valley branch, on Feb. 6, 2020. But Peng told the family that the hospital was in a chaotic state and he didn’t receive any food or treatment for over 24 hours.

Zhong believed that his son would not have contracted COVID-19 had authorities been more transparent about the outbreak at the time. “My son died in the hospital without any relatives beside him,” Zhong cried.

During the initial outbreak, the Wuhan government also didn’t allow family members to visit COVID-19 patients, nor see the bodies of those who died. Authorities distributed cremated ashes on a large scale in late March 2020. Zhong suspects authorities hastily cremated the bodies and did not properly sort the cremated remains.


The underreporting continues today.
The government of Changchun city in Jilin Province, northeastern China, announced in February that the First Hospital of Jilin University had taken over the Changchun Infectious Disease Hospital, a hospital designated to treat COVID-19 patients since Jan. 25.

Authorities didn’t give any explanation for the takeover. An insider who is involved in the takeover told The Epoch Times that the hospital had a cluster outbreak.

“A doctor who treated COVID-19 patients was infected and diagnosed on Jan. 23. He did ride-hailing to commute every day before he was diagnosed. Then, all medical staff in the hospital as well as the ride-hailing drivers were quarantined as close contacts of the doctor,” the insider said.

The Epoch Times could not independently verify the information. But Changchun announced that all patients at the infectious disease hospital were removed, quarantined, and treated at other facilities before it was taken over.

A source surnamed Yang has relatives who live in Tonghua city, also in Jilin. Her relative told her that they were still quarantined at home even though the city claimed there have been no new virus cases in recent days.

“On Jan. 30, the government announced two new infections in Tonghua. My relative told me that over 200 residents were diagnosed positive that day,” Yang said.

The Epoch Times could not verify this information, but Tonghua residents said in recent interviews that they were still required to remain at home.

Residents in Shijiazhuang and Xingtai cities in Hebei Province, Daxing district in Beijing, and Harbin city in Heilongjiang Province also complained that they were still locked down at home though authorities claimed no infections.

Nicole Hao is a Washington-based reporter focused on China-related topics. Before joining the Epoch Media Group in July 2009, she worked as a global product manager for a railway business in Paris, France.