Date: March 20, 2020
Since the beginning of the virus in December, China has censored information made available to the public. When doctors first noticed patients coming in with SARS-like symptoms, the government ordered them to keep silent.
In his speech, Alton quoted Ai Fen, Wuhan Central Hospital’s director of emergency, who was scolded by the authorities for warning her colleagues about the virus. She said, “If I had known what was to happen, I would not have cared about the reprimand. I would have … talked about it to whoever, where ever I could.”
These suppression techniques delayed reporting about the virus, allowing it to spread.
In the following weeks, China repeatedly tried to block individuals from reporting on the virus. Fang Bin, a Wuhan resident, uploaded a video of himself at a hospital and the nearby crematorium on Feb. 1, showing doctors and nurses carrying out corpses. He concluded that many people were dying in the hospital.
Authorities then arrived at his home and told him he must be quarantined. They rummaged through his place without any search warrant and confiscated two computers.
He was later detained at the Hanyang Branch of the Sixin Police Station.
In Hong Kong, the virus halted pro-democracy protests that had been occurring in the city since last year. However, Hong Kong authorities have still been arresting activists, such as clothing and media mogul Jimmy Lai.
Additionally, Hong Kong’s medical staff are operating under compulsion from the government, which has threatened them with discipline should they fail to show up for work. In his speech, Alton noticed this was a deviation from the rest of the world, where medics are being hailed as self-sacrificial heroes in the fight against the virus.
To read Alton’s full speech, please click here.
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