Friday, April 22, 2022

Covid-19 Series: PRC Websites Delete Editorial by "China's Top Respiratory Disease Expert"

Shortly after midnight on April 19, 2022, the PRC government news service Xinhua published an article titled "Scientifically Implement 'Dynamic Zeroing' To Win the Initiative for China's Development." (科学精准落实“动态清零”,为中国发展赢得主动). Some excerpts:

Despite facing the most severe epidemic prevention and control situation since 2020, China adhered to the general policy of "dynamic zeroing" and won the tough battles one by one.
. . . .
Adhering to the "dynamic zeroing" is to race against the virus, to create a safe and stable development environment for China's economy, and to fight for the time and space for the follow-on science-based and orderly opening up.
. . . .
China has made it clear to the world that by striving to achieve the greatest prevention and control effect at the least cost, and to minimize the impact of the epidemic on economic and social development, great things can be accomplished that are beneficial to the people.


. . . . 


. . . .


Later the same day Xinhua published an English language article under the title "World Experts Deem Dynamic Zero-COVID Approach Best Choice for China, Boon for World." The "experts" cited in that article were:

  • "China's leading epidemiologist Liang Wannian" 
  • "Gerald Mbanda, a Rwandan researcher and publisher"
  • "Bulent Ertugrul, an expert from Reyap Hospital in Istanbul"

Neither article mentioned Zhong Nanshan (钟南山) who, according to the state-sponsored media outlet Global Times, is "China's top respiratory disease expert." 

On April 19, 2022, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post published an article titled "China's Top Expert Writes of Eventual Return to Normal, but Article Deleted at Home." An excerpt:

China's top Covid-19 expert Zhong Nanshan has said the country cannot pursue "dynamic zero-Covid" in the long term and should reopen to bring social and economic development back to normal, and adapt to global reopening.

The editorial titled "Strategies for reopening in the forthcoming Covid-19 era in China" was published in the English-language National Science Review journal on April 6. A Chinese translated copy of the article was published on mainland news sites on Monday but has since been deleted.

Zhong's original English language article is available here:


Below are two examples of the deletions of the Chinese language translation of Zhong's article:


At 3:04 p.m. on April 19, 2022, the government license website Zhongchengwang (operating under the sponsorship of the Professional Committee of Livable Cities and Urban and Rural Governance of China National Architecture Research Association (中国民族建筑研究会宜居城市与城乡治理专业委员会)) published an article titled "Academician Zhong Nanshan's Latest Article: It is Impossible to Achieve Prolonged Dynamic Zeroing" (钟南山院士最新文章:长期的动态清零是不可能实现的). Some excerpts:
On April 6, 2022, the National Science Review (NSR) published an English editorial article jointly signed by Academician Zhong Nanshan, mentioning that in the long run, long-term dynamic zero cannot be achieved, and China needs to promote social and economic development and reopen, and put forward five strategic suggestions. Recommendations included increasing vaccination rates, prioritizing the use of antigen kits in the community, accelerating drug development, conducting follow-up studies on cases to adjust the minimum quarantine period, and adjusting policies in designated cities or regions.
. . . .
The dynamic zeroing policy has been adopted for maintaining effective disease prevention and control. However, China needs to reopen so as to normalize socio-economic development and adapt to global reopening. Prolonged dynamic zeroing cannot be pursued in the long run.

2022年4月6日,《国家科学评论》(National Science Review, NSR)刊发了钟南山院士联合署名的英文社论文章,提到长远来看,长期的动态清零无法实现,中国需要为了社会经济正常发展而重新开放,并提了五点策略建议。建议包括提高疫苗接种率、在社区中优先使用抗原试剂盒、加快药物研发、对病例进行随访调查研究以调整最短隔离时间,以及在指定城市或地区调整政策等。
. . . .

These screenshots show that the article was deleted the next day and replaced with a notice saying "The article you accessed has been withdrawn!" (您访问的文章已撤回!).

 Original URL:


At 4:30 p.m. on April 19, 2022, the government-licensed media outlet NetEase published an article titled "Zhong Nanshan: Prolonged Dynamic Zeroing Cannot be Achieved, Pilot Investigations are Crucial" (钟南山:长期动态清零无法实现,试点调查至关重要). The content was substantially similar to the Zhongchengwang article. These screenshots show that the article was deleted the next day, and NetEase was redirecting people attempting to access it to the NetEase home page.

Original URL:

Impact on Search Results

The impact of these deletions on search results is illustrated by these two screenshots showing Baidu search results for "Zhong Nanshan Prolonged Dynamic Zeroing" (钟南山 长期动态清零) on April 20 (left) and April 21 (right). 

Below are translations of the top three "news" results from each of those days as shown in the above screenshots:

Translation: Xu Zhiyong's Statement in His Own Defense

 Source: China Digital Times: On April 10, 2023, Xu Zhiyong, a well-known human rights de...