The Chinese regime’s state media call it “super-fast” hospital. To cope with the overwhelming number of coronavirus infected patients in Wuhan, China built the “Fire God mountain (Huo Shen Shan)” hospital within ten days and was already in use on Monday, Feb. 3.
However, the fact that the Chinese military is now in charge of the hospital’s operation has raised concerns about even less transparency regarding the outbreak.
Chinese officials say hundreds have died, and tens of thousands are infected by the 2019 novel coronavirus, which causes pneumonia-like symptoms.
But experts suspect the real number to be much higher. Online videos of overcrowded hospitals and SOS letters from patients not being treated continue to challenge China’s official figures.
U.S.–based China affairs commentator Jingyuan Tang said with the new military-controlled hospital, even such anecdotal evidence would be hard to come by.
“All of the medical staff will be from the military,” Tang said, “In that case, all the data and information in the hospital could become a military secret. The outside won’t know it. The internal staff won’t disclose it. Because whoever did so could be charged with disclosing military information and could be sent to military courts.”
“It’s like a black hole. People on the outside won’t know how many patients went in there—won’t know how many people have disappeared,” he said.
The human rights records of China’s military-run hospitals are not reassuring. Multiple former physicians have disclosed the presence of illegal organ transplantation and trade inside China’s military hospitals. One physician said the phenomena were “common.”
Tang said: “If the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is able to make forced organ harvesting almost like an industry, then in the environment with no-transparency as in the new Wuhan hospital, in order to control the outbreak ‘at any cost,’ as the CCP now vows, what would they do to the patients?. From the moral standard of the Chinese military, it’s really hard to say.'”
Hospital or Prison?
After photos and videos of the new hospitals were released, Chinese netizens are questioning why it looks more like a prison than a hospital—why are the windows sealed off with bars?.
“Usually only mental hospitals have bars on the window,” Sean Lin, a former microbiologist at Virus Disease Branch of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, told NTD, “Not regular hospital. (There is) no need for bars even for quarantine purposes.”
No other hospitals in Wuhan appointed by officials as quarantine centers have such windows.
The newly built hospital is modeled after a similar hospital—Xiaotangshan was built in Beijing during the 2003 outbreak of SARS, another type of coronavirus. That facility was built in seven days.
In 2003, most patients in Xiaotangshan were very contagious and more dangerous than those at other hospitals. Some western media outlets called it “a SARS virus center in China,” which may “explode” at any time.
However, the Chinese authorities said in 2003 that the recovery rate in Xiaotangshan was 99 percent and that none of the 1382 health care workers were infected, when outside of the hospital, in contrast, 20 percent of all infected are medical staff.
There was no cure for SARS at the time, nor is there now.
The Chinese army also operates Xiaotangshan Hospital.
Tang said rather how miraculous the Xiaotangshan hospital is, the incredibly high recovery rate may speak more to how tight military-run hospitals’ control is.
In a memoir by the then president of Xiaotangshan hospital, Yanling Zhang, described the fear some patients experienced when transferred there.
Zhang said some patients wouldn’t let go of the knobs of the car that sent them to the hospital.
One female patient aged over 40 started to lean on the wall and cry the moment she got out of the car and said, “Is this a hospital? Is this going to be standard treatment? Can you cure my disease? Why do you take me somewhere so desolate? Is this a ‘death concentration camp?’ Are you taking me as a test sample like what Unit 731 did? ”
Pressure to Control
Tang said China is also under pressure to try to prevent the international community from taking further measures to control the disease. “Like evacuating foreign citizens in China or further cutting off trade relations, which can all have a very big impact on China’s economy.”
And further economic pressure could threaten the Communist Party’s legitimacy of power, he said.
Chinese stocks plunged 8% on Monday due to fear of coronavirus spread, marking its worst day in years. The Chinese regime also accused the U.S. of its barring entry to foreigners from China as overreacting.
“Under the totalitarian system of communist China, the authorities haven’t seemed to care that much about how many Chinese people would die,” Tang said, “… the Fire God Mountain Hospital could become a black hole, where all real numbers are sucked in.”