China Clamps Down on Coronavirus Coverage as Cases Surge
As the number of coronavirus infections in China continues to surge, the Communist government has clamped down on the news media and the internet, signaling an effort to control the narrative about a crisis that has become a once-in-a-generation challenge for leaders in Beijing.To get more latest Shanghai news, you can visit shine news official website.
Chinese health officials said Thursday that 563 people had died from the virus, up from 490 people the day before, and that there were 28,018 confirmed cases of infection. Thousands more cases are being reported every day, and many Chinese fear that the virus’s spread is not being adequately controlled.
With frustrations running high across the country, China’s leaders appear to be strengthening information controls after a brief spell in which news organizations were able to report thoroughly on the crisis, and many negative comments about the official response were left uncensored online.
In recent days, both state-run news media and more commercially minded outlets have been told to focus on positive stories about virus relief efforts, according to three people at Chinese news organizations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal directives.
Internet platforms have removed a range of articles that suggest shortcomings in the Chinese government’s response or are otherwise negative about the outbreak.
Local officials have also cracked down on what they call online “rumors” about the virus. China’s public security ministry this week lauded such efforts, which have continued even after one person who was reprimanded for spreading rumors turned out to be a doctor sounding the alarm about early cases of the illness.
The Chinese government has shifted its strategy for information control in response to the changing nature of the public’s discontent, said King-wa Fu, an associate professor at the Journalism and Media Studies Center at the University of Hong Kong.
In the early days of the crisis, online vitriol had largely been directed at the local authorities. Now, more of the anger is being aimed at higher-level leadership, and there seems to be more of it over all, he said.Late last month, for instance, after The New England Journal of Medicine published a research paper about early cases of the virus, Chinese web users pounced on the fact that several of the authors worked for the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, saying they should have been informing the public, not furthering their research careers.
“Now I understand,” one person wrote on the social platform Weibo. “The C.D.C.’s purpose all along was to publish research papers.”