by WorldTribune Staff, April 9, 2020
The repressive policies of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which have seen hundreds of thousands of ethnic minorities sent to prison camps in China, are also responsible for tens of thousands of deaths worldwide due to the CCP’s decision to hide the extent of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, activists say.
Uyghur, Tibetan, and Chinese activists discussed the repressive security and surveillance measures that China has implemented to prevent the spread of information and opinions that challenge Beijing’s coronavirus narrative during a video conference briefing on Tuesday hosted by the human rights group International Tibet Network, Breitbart News reported.
The activists argued that Beijing’s decision to hide the severity of the coronavirus in China is responsible for the disease spreading across the globe.
Dr. Teng Biao, a Chinese human rights lawyer, pointed out that hundreds of people in China who attempted to warn about the seriousness of the coronavirus “were arrested, detained, or forcibly disappeared.”
“We have to realize that Chinese authorities escalated suppression online and social control. COVID-19 is being used by the Chinese Communist Party as a chance to strengthen its high-tech totalitarianism. And CCP’s suppression of freedom with this information, the mismanagement, has caused significant delays of emergency responses and loss of life not only in China but also all over the world,” Teng said.
The activists said China and the World Health Organization (WHO), a Beijing-influenced United Nations entity, must be held accountable for spreading false Chinese propaganda about the outbreak.
By disseminating Chinese propaganda, “the World Health Organizations is failing its own mission of protecting the lives of people,” said Dorjee Tseten, the executive director for Students for a Free Tibet, a global grassroots network of students and activists.
Tseten said: “The global coronavirus pandemic – which started in Wuhan, China, and [has] now spread across the world – could have been stopped if the Chinese communist regime had taken the right position on time. It could have been contained if the Chinese government had not punished the whistleblowers, lawyers, doctors … and others who were punished because they spoke of the truth and they tried to save people’s lives. And it’s unfortunate now that the whole world is paying the cost of Chinese repressive rule and repressive policy that they have been carrying out throughout the year.”
Health officials have traced the first coronavirus case to Nov. 17 of last year, the activists acknowledged.
“Top Chinese leaders had already known the seriousness of the coronavirus in early January or even in late December, but they decided to hide the information because of its own political consideration,” Teng said.
China’s “arbitrary confiscation of emergency supplies, arbitrary detentions during the mass quarantine, the fake statistics and intentionally manipulating WHO’s writing [of] conspiracy theories, exporting under qualified face masks and health skits, and using the export of medical equipment to pursue CCP’s political agenda” fueled the spread of highly contagious disease, Teng added.
At times, the WHO pushed false Chinese propaganda about the coronavirus, drawing the ire of U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration. The activists noted that funding from China may be the reason why the WHO is cozy with Beijing.
Moreover, the activists noted that China has intensified its oppressive tactics used against the already repressed Tibetan and Muslim-majority Uyghur communities as well as any Chinese citizen who challenges the Communist Party’s narrative about coronavirus.
The activists revealed that China is hiding the number of coronavirus cases in Tibet and Xinjiang, home to the largest concentration of predominantly Muslim Uyghurs. Muslim-majority Xinjiang, also known as East Turkestan, is the largest province in China.
China has sent hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and other minorities to concentration camps across Xinjiang.
The activists said it is unclear how many coronavirus cases there are in Tibet and Xinjiang.
China is treating how the virus is impacting political prisoners, particularly Uyghurs locked in concentration camps, as a “state secret,” refusing to release information on that situation, Zumretay Arkin from the World Uyghur Congress, said on Tuesday.
“We’ve heard a lot about what is happening about the cases in mainland China, except for East Turkestan and Tibet,” Arkin said. “The sanitary conditions in the [Uyghur internment] camps are a breeding ground for the spread of the virus.”
“There is very little information about the exact number of the coronavirus cases that have been coming out of Tibet,” Kyinzom Dhongdue, the executive director of the human rights group Australia Tibet Council, added. “We don’t know what is really happening to the Tibetan people.”