Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Covid-19 Series: Censorship of News Reports Critical of the Government's Response

It is not possible to list here all of the news articles that were censored from January to April 2020. The censorship of three articles published by China's more reputable state sponsored media outlets is described in detail below. Approximately 20 more examples are listed at the bottom of this post.

Caixin Cover Story 

Title: They Fought the Battle to the End [他们打满全场]
Date Published: April 10, 2020
Date Censored: April 11 or 12, 2020
Publisher: 财新周刊
Original URL: http://weekly.caixin.com/2020-04-10/101540932.html
Archived URL:  https://web.archive.org/web/20200411204707/http://weekly.caixin.com/2020-04-10/101540932.html
Cover: http://weekly.caixin.com/2020/cw900/

Evidence Of Censorship: The screenshots on the left and right below show that for the issues immediately preceding and following the April 13 issue, Caixin featured links to its cover story (outlined in blue). The screenshot in the middle shows that for the April 13 issue, Caixin does not provide any link to its cover story (outlined in red).

In addition, the screenshot on the left below shows a Google cache of Caxin's cover story index page as it appeared on April 11, 2020, with the "They Fought the Battle to the End [他们打满全场]" featured at the top (outlined in blue). The screenshot on the right shows the same page as it appeared on April 13, 2020, and that story has been removed.

Li Yirong told Caixin reporters that the National Key Laboratory of Virology of Wuhan University and the research team of Zhongnan Hospital did not upload the whole genome sequence of the new coronavirus to GISAID until January 23. "Because the relevant departments do not allow private pathogenic testing, and we were not allowed to publish relevant pathogen testing or experimental results without authorization, we were very cautious in releasing information.

China Newsweek Cover Story


Title: The Regret of Wuhan: How China Missed the Critical Window for Controlling the Coronavirus Outbreak [武汉之憾:黄金防控期是如何错过的]
Date Published: Online version was published on February 5, 2020. Magazine was dated February 10, 2020.
Date Censored: Some time before February 9, 2020.
Original URL: https://news.sina.com.cn/c/2020-02-05/doc-iimxyqvz0431055.shtml | https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/utrKt3oYGdIsjKOcyzlBmQ
Archived URL: https://web.archive.org/web/20200205115627/https://news.sina.com.cn/c/2020-02-05/doc-iimxyqvz0431055.shtml | https://archive.li/SPwN3/image
Cover: https://finance.sina.cn/2020-02-05/detail-iimxyqvz0352015.d.html
Translation: https://chinachange.org/2020/02/09/the-regret-of-wuhan-how-china-missed-the-critical-window-for-controlling-the-coronavirus-outbreak/
Evidence of Censorship: The screenshot on the left below shows a Google cache version of the article as it appeared on February 5, 2020. The screenshot on the right shows the same URL as it appeared on February 9, 2020.

In addition, the screenshot below shows that a search on China Newsweek's search engine for the title of the article returns no results.

Finally, the screenshot on the left below shows an archived version of the article as it appeared on February 5, 2020. The screenshot on the right shows the same URL as it appeared on December 17, 2020.


Lin Yu, a doctor at the Union Hospital, affiliated with Huazhong University of Science and Technology’s Tongji Medical School described his recollections in an interview with China News Weekly. He said that at the beginning of the outbreak, the Wuhan municipal government’s policy for dealing with the problem was “cold handling”. The hospital where Lin worked issued a notice saying that barring explicit permission from the work unit, no one was allowed to discuss the sickness using their personal communication channels or give interviews with the media. In addition to the clinical system, information was also strictly controlled at the hospital infection-control department and at the CDC. “You weren’t allowed to say anything all.” The only thing the doctor could do was repeatedly exhort those seeking treatment: “wear masks, you must buy and wear masks.” They also made loaded jokes, like “avoid Huanan Seafood Market, the products there aren’t fresh.”


Caijing WeChat Post

Title: People Outside the Statistics: Did They Die of “Ordinary Pneumonia”? [统计数字之外的人:他们死于“普通肺炎”?]
Date Published: February 1, 2020
Date Censored: February 2, 2020
Publisher: 财经杂志 (Official WeChat Public Account)
Original URL: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/OQGVZlrJWID9Gn4A_T5u_g
Archived URL: https://web.archive.org/web/20200201152342/https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/OQGVZlrJWID9Gn4A_T5u_g
Translation: https://github.com/memoryhonest/nCovMemory-en/blob/master/docs/2020-02-01/excluded_from_the_statistics.md
Evidence Of Censorship: The screenshot on the left below shows the post as it appeared on the morning of February 2, 2020. The  screenshot on the right below shows the post as it appeared on the afternoon of February 2, 2020 - that text reads "Unable to view this content because it violates regulations. This content was reported and determined to be in violation of the Provisions on the Administration of Internet User Public Account Information Services. View Details" [此内容因违规无法查看. 接相关投诉,此内容违反《互联网用户公众帐号信息服务管理规定》,查看详细内容].

The screenshot below shows the English language version of that censorship notice.


On January 26, 2020, Liu Mei's family received a cremation notice. Her mother-in-law, a 73-year-old woman, had been at home when she stopped breathing, and died after being sent to the hospital after resuscitation attempts had failed.
Liu Mei told "Caijing" reporters that the elderly woman had developed symptoms of the suspected new coronavirus pneumonia on January 21. After examination at the Wuhan No. 4 Hospital, the diagnosis showed that her lungs were highly infected. However, the elderly woman was moved to several hospitals and was not admitted to any of them, so she could only isolate herself at home until she became critically ill.
After the elderly woman was taken away by the ambulance her family never saw her again. The last thing they received was a cremation notice, which listed the cause of death of the elderly woman as viral pneumonia. However, according to family members, the death of the elderly woman was not counted in the number of confirmed deaths from novel coronavirus pneumonia because until her death, she was not eligible for hospitalization and was not diagnosed with novel coronavirus pneumonia, and could only be counted as having the misfortune to die from "common pneumonia."
The elderly woman passed away quickly, with no time for proper arrangements to be made or for family members to see her off. Her ashes remain in the funeral home.
The members of Liu Mei's family whose relative died without treatment are not alone. "Caijing" reporters have conducted several investigations and have learned that, although the number of outpatients exhibiting fevers in major designated hospitals in Wuhan has declined compared with the time when the city was "closed" on January 23, and a third batch of designated hospital has been opened, the lack of hospital beds has not been fully alleviated. While the number of confirmed and suspected cases has risen, there are still many lives hanging by a thread outside the epidemic statistics.
A department director of a designated hospital told a "Caijing" reporter that there were about 120 patients with fever a day in the outpatient clinic of the hospital in the past two days, of which about 80 had lung infections, but only 5 may were eventually admitted to hospital.


Additional Examples of Articles That Were Censored or Deleted

Caijing [财经]

Workers at Huoshenshan Wanted to Return Home: At Least Nine People Were Confirmed Infected, Their Livelihoods at Risk [火神山工人想回家:至少9人确诊,生计暂难为继 ]
Original URL: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/FfB6QgnxjCBAoD4lPEDrIQ
Archived Version: http://archive.today/jP0mK | https://web.archive.org/web/20200318150008/https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/FfB6QgnxjCBAoD4lPEDrIQ

In Order to Meet Resumption Quotas, Some Zhejiang Enterprises are Exaggerate Utility Usage [为达标复工率,浙江部分企业注水用电量]
Original URL: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/G2EtbaG_bLTpWlNThuNUrw
Archived Version: http://archive.ph/gYf0F

Exclusive Interview With Second Batch of Experts Deployed by the Ministry of Health: Why Have We Not Seen Person-to-Person Transmission? [专访卫健委派武汉第二批专家:为何没发现人传人?]
Original URL: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/jY9NEElLmLckv4k7Workog
Archived Version: http://archive.today/6MyfO

Discriminated Against, Evicted, and Fired, Hubei Mirgrant Workers Live in Abandoned Buildings in Shenzhen [受歧视遭退租被辞工,湖北籍农民工流落深圳烂尾楼]
Original URL: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/4ZFzdJXlYUvNiFzpy7DUrA
Archived Version: http://archive.today/Elyw2

Gao Fu Responds to the Controversy: I'm Not Online Arguing Because I'm Researching a Cunning Virus [高福回应争议:不能去网络吵架,在研究狡猾病毒]
Original URL: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/RBjSumb2wh7sRoCRaNyS1Q
Archived Version: http://archive.today/XCiq9

Three Barriers Those Suspected of Beijing Infected in Wuhan Must Surmount to Get a Hospital Room [武汉疑似患者通往病房的三道难关]
Original URL: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/emhJaE4O4ElsCntcJDJLWw
Archived Version: http://archive.today/GbY4J

Caixin [财新]

Pneumonia Diary | March 19: The Result of the Investigation into Li Wenliang is Announced, The Public Cries for More Action Against Those Responsible [肺炎日记|3月19日:李文亮调查结果公布,舆论呼吁继续追责]
Original URL: http://www.caixin.com/2020-03-20/101531330.html
Archived Version: http://archive.ph/wTJ4j

Suspicions Many Retested Positive: The Full Story of the Deaths of People Discharged from the Hospital After Recovering from the Novel Coronavirus [复阳疑云:新冠患者出院后死亡事件始末]
Original URL: http://www.caixin.com/2020-03-05/101524370.html
Archived Version: http://archive.ph/pJNx6

Lights, Air, and Machinery Turned on to "Meet Quotas" - How Reliable are the Country's Work Resumption Numbers [开灯开空调开机器“冲指标” 全国复工数据有多少水分]
Original URL: http://companies.caixin.com/2020-03-03/101523137.html
Archived Version: https://web.archive.org/web/20200303162758/http://companies.caixin.com/2020-03-03/101523137.html

Tracing Gene Sequencing of the Novel Coronavirus: When Did the Alarm Sound [新冠病毒基因测序溯源:警报是何时拉响的]
Original URL: http://china.caixin.com/2020-02-26/101520972.html
Archived Version: https://archive.li/YylMt

Voices from the Front Line Physicians: We Need Help from the International Medical Community [来自前线医生的声音:请国际同行支援我们]
Original URL: http://www.caixin.com/2020-02-26/101520806.html
Archived Version: http://archive.is/zrtaK

Four Members of a Hubei Movie Theater Workers Family Died One After Another: Attention Needs to Be Paid to Families With High Novel Coronavirus Mortality Rates [湖北电影厂员工一家四口接连去世 新冠家庭死亡率高企需关注]
Original URL: http://www.caixin.com/2020-02-16/101516206.html
Archived Version: http://archive.is/iZ7PK

Four Members of a Hubei Movie Theater Workers Family Died One After Another: Liu Fan and Chang Kai are Siblings (Updated) [湖北电影厂员工一家四口接连去世 柳帆常凯实为姐弟(更新)]
Original URL: https://china.caixin.com/2020-02-18/101516203.html
Archived Version: https://archive.li/syczr

Southern Group [南方周末/南方人物周刊]

Family Members of the Deceased in Wuhan: Waiting to Receive Ashes, Waiting for a Way to Express Grief [武汉逝者家属:等待领取骨灰,等待表达悲痛的方式]
Original URL: https://www.infzm.com/contents/179409
Archived Version: http://archive.vn/tepX8

From Discovery to Shutdown, Frontline Medical Workers in Wuhan on Why the Epidemic Broke Out [从发现到封城,武汉一线医护复盘疫情为何爆发]
Original URL: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/tKNwe5bY-rCqhl-juJWqrg
Archived Version: https://archive.vn/T5wcv

Over 160 Hospital Around the Country Plea to the Public for Help, Why is there not Enough Medical Resources and Equipment ? [全国160余家医院向社会求援,医疗物资储备为何不足?]
Original URL: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/SEeoUXwzcfuikvwz46zvDA
Archived Version: http://archive.is/IAgnb

Sanlian Weekly [三联生活周刊]

From the Scene: Huoshenshan Opens: Who Should the Hospital Beds be Reserved For? [现场:火神山开通:病床该留给谁?]
Original URL: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/07-eyh4PxUtXf2F_WHpApQ
Archived Version: https://web.archive.org/web/20200204055934/https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/07-eyh4PxUtXf2F_WHpApQ

Global Times [环球时报]

Medical Workers from Wuhan Central Hospital Confess their True Feelings: The Epidemic is Like Looking in a Demon Mirror [武汉市中心医院医护人员吐真情:疫情是面照妖镜]
Original URL: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/tBKwTE1FPN_uO_Vp2Zm_0w
Archived Version: https://archive.li/2isMJ