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China Still Misleads the World on the Coronavirus
A large screen in the street shows Chinese president Xi Jinping wearing a protective mask during his visit to Wuhan earlier in the day, the epicentre of the coronavirus, on CCTV's evening newscast on March 10, 2020 in Beijing, China.
Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

China Still Misleads the World on the Coronavirus

Walter Russell Mead

As the world struggles to contain the coronavirus outbreak without triggering a new Great Depression, China is withholding vital information that would save lives and significantly alleviate the economic catastrophe that now threatens to immiserate hundreds of millions of people around the world.

This isn’t the old coverup, when Communist Party bumbling and deceit allowed a local outbreak to turn into the worst global disaster in decades. The new coverup is even more brazen. China continues to falsify vital information about the epidemic on a massive scale.

The evidence comes from many sources. In a classified report to the White House, the U.S. intelligence community has concluded that China underreports both deaths and the total number of cases. The Economist magazine compared China’s reported statistics with those from other countries and found that numbers changed dramatically in response to political events, such as the firing and replacement of local officials. Using conservative figures and assumptions, a report by Derek Scissors of the American Enterprise Institute estimates 2.9 million total cases in China, rather than the total of about 82,000 Beijing reports. If Mr. Scissors is right, the number of cases that China has concealed is greater than the total number of cases reported in the rest of the world.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal

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