During an interview Friday, former U.S. Army infantry officer, combat vet, and current U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton reiterated his view that the Chinese government is not being transparent about the severity of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
He told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that Beijing’s Communist leaders were not updating the rest of the world on what Chinese doctors and scientists were seeing regarding the virus.
“I don’t disagree that China’s scientists and doctors can, in some cases, be world-class, and they can be professional,” he said. “However, they have sitting next to them at every level of government a minder from the Chinese Communist Party,” said Harvard Law-educated Cotton, as reported by Breitbart News.
“And I do not have any confidence in those party apparatchiks allowing China’s scientists or their doctors to speak freely to anyone outside of China, especially officials in the United States government,” he added.
Cotton is a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees, so you could say that when it comes to data on China, he’s pretty much up to speed.
And while he’s certainly trustworthy enough, there are other sources making similar claims about Chinese government opaqueness regarding details about the virus.
The Epoch Times reported this week, for instance, that Chinese authorities have begun shutting down the Internet, which, of course, makes it even more difficult for any information to get out.
“The Internet connection in my home was cut off for several days. I kept on calling the mayor’s hotline, but nobody is taking care of us,” said one resident of Wuhan City, the epicenter of the virus, according to the Times. (Related: U.S. now admitting coronavirus has broken containment beyond China.)
The paper added:
Since Feb. 11, more and more Wuhan residents reported that their home internet connections were down. Wuhan authorities have issued strict quarantine measures to contain the outbreak, including allowing only one person per household to leave their homes.
The Chinese-language Epoch Times (CET) spoke with several Wuhan residents and found that some neighborhoods, where there are large numbers of reported COVID-19 virus infections, have had their internet cut off.
Analysts and commentators say they believe Chinese authorities are doing this in order to restrict Netizens’ ability to freely discuss what’s going on with the outbreak in their own country — especially in the city of 11 million where the virus began.
Thus far, the Times reported, since the outbreak began in December some 70 percent of officially reported cases are from Wuhan City.
A number of people interviewed by the CET said their residential areas began broadcasting messages over loudspeakers that were installed on lamp posts that Internet connections would be cut off beginning the evening of Feb. 10.
“Where I am, it’s close to the makeshift hospital at the Wuhan International Expo Center,” said one resident whose connection was shut off Feb. 11, along with neighbors who live nearby.
“It looks like everyone in our community lost their Internet connection,” he added.
Others confirmed that their connections were shut off around the same time and, as of February 21, had yet to be restored by the government.
Such tactics are used very often by the Chinese Communist government to hide the severity of information about emergencies from citizens and the world, Gu He, an observer of Beijing’s censorship, told CET.
“As early as 2009, the Chinese government cut off the Internet in the whole Xinjiang region, [and confined it] to a local area network for 312 days,” Gu said. “It uses this method to control people’s speech.”
Cotton also noted on his Senate website that the Chinese government has also expelled journalists.
“The Chinese Communist Party is complaining about newspaper headlines while the Chinese people suffer and die from coronavirus,” he said recently in response to a Wall Street Journal report that China booted three of its reporters.
See the latest information on the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak at Pandemic.news.