Northeastern Chinese City Conceals Virus Testing Results, Underreports Cases, Residents Say

June 9, 2020 Updated: June 10, 2020

The city of Mudanjiang in northeastern China announced the results of its general CCP virus testing on June 8 and claimed that it only found 19 asymptomatic carriers out of a testing sample of 658,772 people.

Mudanjiang has a population of 2.548 million.

Netizens questioned the veracity of the government data, while sources told The Epoch Times that the number of CCP virus diagnoses was far higher.

The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, first broke out in central China’s Wuhan city in late 2019, and soon spread across China and to over 200 countries and territories around the world.

Since early April, after a brief period in which most regions of China reported little to no new infections, second wave outbreaks have occurred in several Chinese cities, including Mudanjiang.

Asymptomatic Carriers

On June 8, Mudanjiang’s mayor Wang Liwen announced at a press conference that in the past seven days, authorities performed nucleic acid tests on 658,772 people who live in urban areas of the city. 19 were found to be asymptomatic carriers.

Wang also said that in May, the city announced 15 asymptomatic carriers, who “may spread the virus to others.” The 15 infections were discovered during “routine inspection,” and prompted authorities to test all urban residents in early June, he added.

However, according to government data, roughly 872,000 people live in urban areas. Wang did not explain why the so-called general testing did not cover all residents.

Yu Ming, a Chinese dissident living in San Francisco who is originally from northeastern China, has contacts within Mudanjiang city government. He told The Epoch Times on June 8 that a source told him that the city found over 600 asymptomatic carriers by June 6.

Another source told him that some diagnosed patients in the city are experiencing symptoms.

The source also said that a patient transmitted the virus to a nurse working at the Mudanjiang Anorectal Hospital, leading to a cluster outbreak among hospital staff and patients.

The Epoch Times called the main reception and several branches of the Mudanjiang Anorectal Hospital, but no one answered the phone.

Epoch Times Photo
A medical worker takes a swab sample from a resident to be tested for the CCP virus on a street in Mudanjiang, China on June 3, 2020. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Local Residents

City authorities ordered all schools to suspend classes in January after the initial virus outbreak. High schools in the city reopened for senior students twice in April and May, but were forced to close their doors twice, after a second wave of virus spread was reported.

Most recently, according to local resident Li, schools reopened on the morning of May 25 briefly, but closed down again after several hours. They reopened again days later, and closed again.

At one particular school, the Mudanjiang No. 1 High School, all 1,700 seniors and their parents were required to take nucleic acid tests on May 25, Li said.

She added that the reason why schools had to close on May 25 was because a student at the No. 2 High School was infected with the virus after he had a meal at a local KFC restaurant. All schools were closed as a precaution to prevent the virus from spreading.

The whole senior class at the No. 2 High School was isolated at hotels that were converted into makeshift quarantine centers, but they were later sent back home because all the centers were full, Li said. Chinese authorities have set up such facilities to monitor asymptomatic carriers, suspected patients, and those with mild symptoms.

The Epoch Times could not independently verify the information Yu and Li provided.

Epoch Times Photo
The Mudanjiang river flows through the city of Mudanjiang, China on July 6, 2006. (GOH CHAI HIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Local Netizens

Nonetheless, netizens from Mudanjiang said they did not trust the government’s testing results announcement.

On Weibo, a Twitter-like social media platform, local resident Yuan Lu commented on the news about the test results with incredulity. He noted that many people themselves or their close contacts have been isolated at quarantine centers in recent days. “How many people tested positive [with the virus], our Mudanjiang people know…We share the information with each other.”

Another resident, Xiangman Huaxia, also questioned local authorities’ tactics: “Today [June 8], all open markets were forced to close down in Mudanjiang. All residents who don’t need to go to work every day have to follow the rule that only one person from each household can go out shopping once every two days. Why did you announce so few infections, but upgraded regulations today?”

Tuoluo Midi, another resident, wrote that the Mudanjiang Hongqi Hospital was “full of [COVID-19] infections.”

Hongqi Hospital is a designated hospital to treat COVID-19 in Mudanjiang, and is one of the best and largest hospitals in the province.

In April, the hospital expanded its capacity, with the ability to treat 130 COVID-19 patients in critical condition and 1,000 COVID-19 patients in mild and medium condition at the same time, according to state-run media CCTV.

Party officials were also dissatisfied with how the city managed the crisis.

On June 3, the city’s Party boss Ma Zhiyuan was dismissed from his position. Yang Tingshuang, the Party boss of Qitaihe city, replaced him. Qitaihe is a smaller-sized city that is also located in Heilongjiang Province.