To keep COVID death figures in China low, the Chinese government has enacted a modification in laws and procedures requiring doctors to hide COVID-related mortalities or postpone updating them on death certificates, according to Voices Against Autocracy (VAA).
Authorities in China have also ceased including COVID deaths that happened outside of hospitals to the official statistics. In the face of mounting international pressure, China announced that around 60,000 COVID-related deaths occurred between early December and mid-December 2022. The figure is significant in light of China’s death toll of about 5,000 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to VAA, many people believed the true figure was significantly higher and accused Beijing of underreporting. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) requested China to provide “more detailed” statistics, expressing worry over the country’s under-reporting of the severity of viral epidemics.
COVID infections began to rise in China near the end of December, and hospitals began to fill up. Many patients were unable to find beds and were observed sleeping on the floor. Even funeral homes and crematoriums were entirely full, with lines stretching for days. The Chinese government, on the other hand, has stayed mute on the growing number of COVID sufferers. The administration ceased providing routine health alerts, creating uncertainty about the COVID situation.
However, a social media post by famous Chinese scientist and government official Wu Zunyou indicated that more than 80% of China’s population was infected with COVID. The Chinese government, according to VAA, has issued warnings and circulars instructing doctors not to identify COVID as a cause of death. “On the death certificate, we fill in one main cause of death, and two to three sub-causes of death, so we basically leave out COVID,” a doctor at a Shanghai-based hospital explained.
According to Liaoning Province doctor Liu Chen (pseudonym), government restrictions prohibit them from counting COVID patients’ deaths owing to exacerbation of underlying conditions as COVID deaths. “T stanhat is thedard we all have to follow. So, from the top to the bottom, no one knows the exact mortality rate of COVID,” he said, as quoted by VAA.
According to complaints received from people, deaths following COVID in China are being labelled as “heart diseases”, “pneumonia” or “underlying disease”.
According to Song Guo-cheng, a researcher at National Chengchi University, the latest death figures announced by Beijing are still suspicious. “The information obtained from various sources and online reports is in sharp contrast with the COVID figures disclosed by the Chinese Communist Party. This underscores that the CCP is still playing with the data, covering up the true scale of the outbreak,” Song said.