The following open letter was posted today by Citizen Power Initiatives for China, a group advocating for democracy and human rights for China’s ~1.4 billion people. Given its importance, we are reposting it here:
Dear President Trump:
We commend you for taking precautionary measures to contain and monitor the deadly outbreak of the Wuhan novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), and we also applaud your call for U.S. scientists and medical researchers to investigate the origins of the virus. Particularly, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to your efforts to help the Chinese people fight the pandemic.
As you know, the reported number of Wuhan novel coronavirus cases have skyrocketed to 70,548, with the death toll reaching 1,770, surpassing the 2003 SARS epidemic where 8,096 people were confirmed to be infected and 774 died. The virus has spread rapidly outside China’s borders, into a growing number of other countries, including the United States, where 15 have been confirmed positive, 392 have tested negative and 60 are pending.
We believe that the pandemic is far from over and it may turn into the worst situation if not properly handled by China. As of February 10th, China has locked down three entire provinces (Hubei, Liaoning, Jiangxi), all four centrally-administered municipalities (Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing) and more than 80 other major cities, affecting several hundred million people’s daily life and economic production. The Chinese epidemiologists have confirmed three primary ways of this pandemic’s transmission, and in addition to direct and contact transmission, they find the dangerous 2019-nCoV is airborne.
We fear that China continues to conceal the truth about the scope, magnitude and velocity of this pandemic. Based on what we have learned on the ground, the lethality of the disease is much higher than reported in China, particularly in the epicenter of Wuhan. The Chinese party has a history of lying. If it had not tightly controlled information, and banned free speech and press, this disaster could have been avoided. As a result, the Chinese regime’s gross negligence and deliberate lies cost peoples’ lives and financial resources to contain the pandemic in the international community.
From a recent Chinese official document, we have learned that Wuhan City is adding an additional 230,000 beds for the patients in the city, which confirms our fear. But the data the Chinese reported for the entire country is about 34,000. How many people are exactly infected by the virus in China? More importantly, what is the lethality of the pandemic? The official death toll is under 1,800, but based on interviews of funeral homes, investigative journalists say the number in Wuhan has already exceeded 10,000, over 60 percent of the victims died at home due to a shortage of hospital beds and were cremated immediately before they were diagnosed and treated.
The U.S. government must press China for the whole truth, about this biological Chernobyl-style disaster, so that it can take more effective measures to protect the American people from being infected and the American economy from being disrupted by this deadly virus.
We, therefore, urge you to treat this pandemic as a matter of national security, and request the Chinese government providing detailed information on the urgent questions regarding the 2019-nCoV pandemic, and direct CDC or other government agencies to verify this information.
Jianli Yang Founder and President of Citizen Power Initiatives for China
Lianchao Han Vice President of Citizen Power Initiatives for China