As the rest of the world is in the grips of the Wuhan coronavirus, China appears to be on the road to recovery, at least according to news reports. All week we’ve been hearing about no new cases of COVID-19 in Hubei and how life—despite the continued lockdowns—appeared to be getting back to normal.
But according to whistleblowers and residents, that’s not entirely true.
Beijing has spent much of the outbreak pushing districts to carry on business as usual, with some local governments subsidizing electricity costs and even installing mandatory productivity quotas. Zhejiang, a province east of the epicenter city of Wuhan, claimed as of Feb. 24 it had restored 98.6 percent of its pre-coronavirus work capacity.
But civil servants tell Caixan that businesses are actually faking these numbers. Beijing had started checking Zhejiang businesses' electricity consumption levels, so district officials ordered the companies to start leaving their lights and machinery on all day to drive the numbers up, one civil servant said. Businesses have reportedly falsified staff attendance logs as well — they "would rather waste a small amount of money on power than irritate local officials," Caixan writes. (Yahoo News)
According to Caixan, local officials make special efforts to give 'central leaders' the impression that recovery efforts are going well and those tasked with taking care of quarantined residents are doing their job, but some of these surveys have been filmed with residents yelling at the visiting leaders that “it’s all fake," which is what happened when Vice Premier Sun Chunlan and her entourage toured Wuhan earlier this month.
The residents complained that the community's property management was pretending to ask volunteers to deliver vegetables and meat to the residents but were actually not, according to media reports.
The central government guide group then ordered the local government to investigate and solve the problem immediately. It also called on a meeting soon after the incident to urge local governments ensure material supply for residents during the coronavirus outbreak. (Global Times)
Even the People's Daily reported the encounter, until of course they had to delete it.
"It's fake! It's fake!" shout residents of a community in #COVID19 epicenter Wuhan in a viral video on China’s social media. They have accused property management of cheating them by only appearing to provide promised necessities. Investigation is underway https://t.co/kzq4gbB4RM pic.twitter.com/0ujObfedR8— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) March 6, 2020
These reports come as China kicked U.S. journalists from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post out of the country, leading one to wonder how much more are they hiding?