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China pushes back against criticism of COVID-19 response, cites transparency in data sharing

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  • Staff Report 

China has defended its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and asserted that it has been transparent in its reporting of the virus. Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin stated that China has shared information and data with the international community, including the World Health Organization, and has contributed to the development of vaccines and drugs in other countries. These comments come as the World Health Organization urges Beijing to be more forthcoming about the pandemic and as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers analyzing wastewater from international flights to track new variants of the virus.

Despite China’s claims of transparency, there have been numerous reports on social media of funeral homes being overwhelmed and crematorium furnaces working around the clock due to a sudden surge in demand, leading to skepticism about the official death figures according to RFA. Local governments’ figures have also been called into question as they often do not align with the reality on the ground. The current wave of infections has prompted calls for the annual Spring Festival Gala to be cancelled, but these calls have been quickly removed by government censors.

In addition to the strain on funeral homes, bodies are reportedly piling up in people’s homes as they wait for cremation bookings across China. In Beijing, there is a weeks-long backlog of bodies awaiting cremation, while in Guangzhou, there are large crowds waiting to secure cremation bookings outside the city’s Yinheyuan funeral parlor. Many people have complained that they cannot make phone bookings and that their loved ones’ remains are still in their homes.

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