The entire globe is paying the price of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) repressive policies, particularly Beijing’s decision to hide the extent of the novel coronavirus outbreak that originated in China by punishing whistleblowers and others for speaking the truth, a Tibetan activist declared this week.
During a video conference briefing on Tuesday hosted by the human rights group International Tibet Network, 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 dubious narrative about the coronavirus.
Echoing some U.S. officials and academic studies, the activists argued that Beijing’s decision to hide the severity of the coronavirus in China is responsible for the disease spreading and killing tens of thousands of people across the world.
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 viral outbreak.
By disseminating Chinese propaganda, “the World Health Organizations is failing its own mission of protecting the lives of people,” Dorjee Tseten, the executive director for Students for a Free Tibet, a global grassroots network of students and activists, proclaimed, adding:
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 whistleblower, 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 novel coronavirus case to November 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,” Dr. Teng Biao, a Chinese human rights lawyer, declared.
Echoing other activists, Dr. Teng noted that the world missed an opportunity to prevent and control the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) because Beijing mishandled the outbreak.
“The outbreak of the coronavirus and the way the Chinese government handled it completely reflected China’s government’s failure,” Dr. Teng proclaimed.
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 the deadly and highly contagious disease, he 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.
Communist leaders have silenced hundreds of people in China for spreading the truth about coronavirus on social media, Dr. Teng pointed out.
They “were all arrested, detained, or forcibly disappeared,” he said, adding:
We have to realize that Chinese authorities escalated suppression online and social control. The 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.
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 activist 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,” she said.
Arkin noted that there are outbreaks involving hundreds of cases inside Chinese prisons outside the Uyghur-majority region of Xinjiang.
“The sanitary conditions in the [Uyghur internment] camps are a breeding ground for the spread of the virus,” she declared.
“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.”