Prominent Editor Criticizes Communist Government for Bird Flu Cover-up

November 3, 2005 Updated: August 21, 2015

Recently, Chinese government confirmed bird flu outbreaks in three provinces, Inner Mongolia, Anhui and Hunan provinces. However, how the communist government handling the outbreak has also been questioned by the outside world. Hu Shuli, editor-in-chief of Caijing, A Chinese finance and business magazine, published an article on Oct 31 accusing authorities of covering up the bird flu outbreak. Based on the article, a lot of information regarding the outbreaks were first reported by overseas media and then picked up by mainland media. And still the authorities have set up obstructions to block media interviews.

According to media reports, three provinces in China had the bird flu outbreaks one after another in very short time. The outside world worry that the outbreak in China will become much more serious, saying the Chinese Communist government did not learn its lesson from the SARS outbreak, and was handling the bird flu outbreak with the same method.

On Oct 31, Caijing Magazine editor-in-chief Hu Shuli published an article in First Financial Daily criticizing the government for not being transparent enough regarding the outbreak. The outbreaks happened in Anhui and Hunan provinces were first reported by overseas media then picked up by mainland media. Hu called it “domestic sales of export goods”.

Hu Shuli said, after the outbreaks happened in Anhui and Hunan provinces, Ministry of Health informed international animal epidemic disease organizations on Oct 24. However, Beijing’s mouthpiece Xinhua News released the outbreak news in China in the afternoon of Oct 26, after the Chinese Foreign Affair Spokesperson and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government had confirmed the news, and after other mainland media had already reprinted similar news from overseas media.

In mid-October, there was a rash of unexplained chicken and duck deaths in Wantang village, Shebu town, Xiangtan county, Hunan province. During the investigation, investigator found out 13 of the region’s 15 poultry farms had birds infected with the disease; a total of 545 birds died out of the 687 raised in those farms. The preliminary conclusion was a bird flu infection. But related reports did not show up in the newspapers until Oct 25.

Also, there is no detailed information regarding the outbreak in the three above-mentioned infected areas on China’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture websites.

Hu thinks that bird flu has already become an important public health hazard around the world, especially in China, and it is dangerous and unfair for the Chinese public to learn the truth after overseas people do.