Chinese Leader Xi Jinping Makes First Visit to Wuhan Since Virus Outbreak

March 10, 2020 Updated: March 10, 2020

BEIJING—Chinese leader Xi Jinping visited Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, on March 10, marking the first time he has done so since the epidemic began late last year.

During his trip to Wuhan, he will “visit and express regards to medical workers, military officers and soldiers, community workers, police officers, officials, and volunteers who have been fighting the epidemic on the front line, as well as patients and residents during the inspection,” state news agency Xinhua said.

His arrival in the city at the epicenter of the outbreak came as a surprise to many as there had been no previous announcement.

State-media Hubei Daily reported on Tuesday that Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, is studying plans to allow people in areas at a medium or low risk of contracting the coronavirus to start traveling, citing a meeting chaired by the province’s party chief, Ying Yong.

The meeting said people may be permitted to start traveling but will be monitored using mobile-based tracking technology that was rolled out by many local authorities in China in recent weeks.

Visitors are filmed by artificial intelligence security cameras using facial recognition technology at an international security expo in China.
Visitors are filmed by artificial intelligence security cameras using facial recognition technology at an international security expo at the China International Exhibition Center in Beijing on Oct. 24, 2018. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has directed officials across the country to ramp up propaganda efforts portraying the authorities’ efforts to contain the virus in a positive light, The Epoch Times has learned from an internal government document.

The central government recently declared 113 medical teams and 506 medical staffers as “model citizens” for their participation in the outbreak response. At the same time, internet censors continue to aggressively monitor and delete social media posts critical of the regime.

With state-owned media hyping up news that it is outperforming other countries in containing the virus, and that the spread of the virus in China has greatly slowed in the past week—including the claim that over the last three days, there have been no new locally transmitted coronavirus cases outside of Hubei—the regime has managed to convince some Chinese citizens to return from other virus-hit countries like South Korea.

At the same time, the state-owned media has had dedicated news coverage highlighting the fact that these infected travelers returning from overseas hot spots, such as Iran, Italy, and South Korea now present a risk to China because they’re importing the virus.

Meanwhile, non-official channels, like social media posts that have yet to be censored, show a growing number of netizens from different Chinese provinces claiming that their cities have begun a second round of quarantine measures, with stricter rules.

Epoch Times Photo
Rescue workers are seen on the site where a hotel being used for the novel coronavirus quarantine collapsed in the southeast Chinese port city of Quanzhou, Fujian province, China on March 7, 2020. (CNS Photo via Reuters)

On Saturday, a small hotel used to quarantine people under observation in southern Fujian province collapsed, killing at least 20, while 10 are still missing.

Of the 71 people inside the hotel in Quanzhou city at the time of the collapse, 58 were in under quarantine, the Quanzhou city government said.