the “miracles” of a country with limited freedom

Nine million tampons in one day without discovering any contagion. It’s one of the many pieces of news that, if we weren’t in the midst of a deadly pandemic, would make us smile. There are many ambiguities, half-truths and lies that come from China since the beginning of the emergency Covid. Second Massimo Introvigne, sociologist, founder and director of Cesnur, “Everything that comes from China is ambiguous. On the one hand, they indulge in grand celebrations for how they have been more successful than Westerners and for how Xi Jinping saved the country; on the other hand, new outbreaks and lockdowns emerge ”. China has indeed achieved successes, but this, Introvigne underlines, “must be referred to the fact that they can benefit from a 360-degree surveillance system for individuals, which in democratic countries and not even in other regimes is unimaginable. A system that existed well before the pandemic ”.

How does at dinner to declare 9 million tampons in one day in Qingdao without discovering anyone infected?

There is always a little over-emphasis on the part of the Chinese. Let’s say that, on the one hand, when it comes to China and Covid it is right to criticize them, because they had the responsibility, for political reasons, of having recognized late that the virus could pass from man to man and they were also slow to inform the international community.

Apart from this?

It must be said that paradoxically, precisely because it is a regime, in the fight against the virus with testing and tracing they have shown a capacity, a real efficiency, even if exaggerated, which sometimes makes you smile as you say. Numbers and statistics are hard to believe, but there is no doubt that they are efficient, because they can benefit from a universal, 360-degree surveillance system of the individual that in democratic countries and not even in other regimes is unimaginable. Surveillance of the people who already existed and using it for the purpose of preventing the epidemic was less difficult than it would be in a democratic country.

What game is Beijing playing? Do you plan to use the virus politically? In fact, the pandemic is bringing Western economies to their knees …

The economy, being now globalized, has also had problems in China. But it is true that there is a massive propaganda use of the virus to show the superior efficiency of China compared to Western countries, to try to sell the Chinese model, in a world that goes through continuous crises, boasting that it is victorious over democracies. It is as if the power were saying: dear Chinese, you complain about the lack of freedom, but look at the dead in the US, where there is democracy. It is propaganda, even for internal purposes, in schools, offices and on television.

The hypothesis that the origin of the virus is artificial, born and escaped from the Wuhan laboratory. Is there any new evidence?

Come Cesnur we have examined all the hypotheses and that of a conspiracy, of an artificial creation of the virus, I think it is a suggestive hypothesis from the film, but I think there is no convincing evidence. The theory instead that in the scientific community has found significant support from a number of minor but large authors, who are not conspiracy theorists, is that in Wuhan there are laboratories where bats and their diseases are caught and studied and that from this laboratory a bat has infected a doctor or escaped. This is a serious hypothesis. It would still be an accident. That there are laboratories that study bats is a certain fact and that the virus inadvertently left one of these laboratories seems to me a more serious possibility than the hypothesis of having wanted to create a bacteriological weapon.

Online reservations for the anti-Covid vaccine produced by Sinopharm, the state pharmaceutical company, have started in Beijing and Wuhan: what is known about this vaccine? How safe and effective is it?

Very little is known, but until it is tested outside China it is best not to be trusted. It is true that from the point of view of pharmaceutical efficacy the Chinese are better than the Russians, I myself would trust a Chinese vaccine more than a Russian one. However, being a medical battle, but also propaganda, which comes from opaque countries, until there are real tests carried out in the West it is better to stay away from these vaccines.

But Trump also uses the promise of a vaccine for propaganda purposes, don’t you think?

The difference is that in the United States, without the authorization of independent authorities, no vaccines are allowed to be distributed, while the Chinese and Russians do so routinely.

Is there still something China is keeping hidden from us about Covid?

The data on the infections of the first weeks they will never give them. The WHO investigation it is a farce, so heavily influenced by China. In Beijing, they only show inspectors what they want. The Chinese don’t want to cover up a big plot, but that the Wuhan virus could unleash bad propaganda against them forced them to keep it under wraps. And this delay has caused an increase in infections and deaths. Here’s what they really want to hide.

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