Pathos and Silence: reports in the Chinese media about the Coronavirus

Dealing with diseases, any government with major challenges. To the right of the population to Information and to avoid panic, is a balancing act. In the case of authoritarian governments like the Chinese, try also in Non-crisis times, to control the flow of information, then in such a phase, the internal contradictions open.

Almost 900 Infected, 26 Dead – this is the most recent balance sheet of the Corona Virus on Friday morning. Since the symptoms of the Wuhan flu are virtually indistinguishable from a conventional flu could be the Numbers much higher. A Professor of Hong Kong University from is of 6000 Infected. The mortality of the Wuhan-flu, with three percent in height of the Spanish flu.

Cities on lockdown due to a Coronavirus

The Chinese authorities did not react at first, then immediately and dramatically. The eight-million-cities of Wuhan, Huanggang, Ezhou, Chibi, Xiantao, Qianjiang, Zhijiang and Lichuan are now on lockdown. Flight, Bus and train services are cancelled. The meet a lot of Chinese are just very sensitive, because this Friday, the spring festival starts in China. Traditionally the Chinese spend this week in the family circle. It is the millions of migrant workers, which pulls it back to their home villages, leading to massive travel movements. In the beginning of January, 300 million train tickets were sold. At the railway stations of Wuhan, it came to the occasional protests of those who now sit in the city. Only by car, the cities are yet to leave. On the roads the temperature of the travellers are now police officers and fairs. Beijing has been locked in addition, the Forbidden city for tourists, on Friday morning, the government also announced to close parts of the great wall of China. The city governments of Shanghai and Beijing called on residents returning from the Virus-affected areas, to stay 14 days at home.

The Chinese government wants to stop these drastic measures, the spread of the flu, or at least slow down. The world health organization praised the government for it.

In the evening news on state television on Thursday, however, the disease was not mentioned. The state broadcaster CCTV showed instead, joyous celebration images from all over the country and, of course, the new year speech of the President Xi Jinping. The lost but not a word about the Virus from Wuhan.

Virus at best a side note in the media

While the Corona Virus determined in a number of countries in the world, the headlines, was this in the Chinese media is more of a side-issue. The state newspaper “People’s Daily” was the Virus there is no mention on the first page of value. Only on page five of the Thursday edition about the disease was to read. There is a slightly pathetic-looking appeal found: “The more difficult the Situation, the more some of the Chinese people. This has been proven time and again by history and reality.” And the party-affiliated newspaper Global Times thanked the citizens of Wuhan for their sacrifice.


Home it is now – trapped in the Ghost city of Wuhan

In the Chinese Internet, it is relatively quiet. This is likely to be due to the massive censorship of the authorities: The “spreading of rumors”, which are more often than shared 500 Times, and more than 5000 people read, since 2013, is a punishable offence. In the meantime, the government is also news about the Virus is deleted.

Many Chinese are likely to see the Situation is somewhat more pragmatic: Within two days of the goods sold on Taobao, China’s largest Online Shopping service, 80 million respirator masks.

At least Beijing has learned from the debacle of the Sars pandemic. As the lung disease broke out at the end of 2002 in southern China, in secret, the Chinese government this for several months. At that time, 800 people died, 3000 were infected. The economic damage was enormous. This Time, the Chinese government communicated faster and better – to the outside, not necessarily inside, to the private citizens.

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