Officially, the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)-induced diseases have killed about 800 people in China. But a Chinese billionaire with a history of exposing the Chinese government says the actual figure is way higher. Exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui recently shared leaked information from the Wuhan crematorium to claim that, depending on the number of bodies burning their furnaces, the death toll could be as high as 50,000.
Guo made the allegation in an interview with former White House strategist Steve Bannon.
The whistleblower further claimed that there are 1.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases in China. Wengui insists that these people are not merely quarantined or “under observation”, but they are confirmed cases of coronavirus infection:
China has struggled to check the spread of the coronavirus. It has also struggled to stem public outrage against censorship of information related to the 2019-nCoV. A doctor who had sounded an alarm about the disease, Li Wenliang, died mysteriously last week. The Chinese government had earlier detained him for being a whistleblower.
The authorities then tried to suppress the news of the doctor’s death. Later, millions of Chinese citizens trended the hashtag #IWantFreedomOfSpeech in the Mandarin-language on Twitter. But the Chinese government censored social media too.
‘Controversial’ Guo can be trusted for coronavirus info
Guo, a mysterious figure, is a real estate developer who fled to the US in 2015 after falling out of favour of the Communist Party of China. The Chinese government accused him of rape, bribery, kidnapping, money laundering and fraud. But the US has refused to extradite him.
Guo has made several other allegations of corruption among top Chinese officials. VICE News says they are a mixed bag. Some have been proved to be false, some have neither been verified nor disproved, and others have been proved to be accurate.
Guo says that there are 49 crematoria in Wuhan and they are working 24/7 for 17 days. Last week, a cremation worker, identified as “Mr Yun”, told a Chinese newspaper that he and his colleagues were working 24 hours:
According to ‘Mr Yun’, 100 body bags are required a day at his location alone. It may not be wise to dismiss The Epoch Times due to its strong anti-communist party bias but fact checks have always found its reports to be true stories. Daily Mail, which has strict editorial scrutiny in place, picked this story.
The bodies going into the Wuhan crematoria that are not victims of coronavirus account for a minuscule percentage of the cremations happening all the time.
The Lancet has said the magnitude of the pandemic coronavirus disease is much larger than what China is officially declaring. This has lent credence to the allegation of US Senator Tom Cortton.
The Chinese government’s history of suppressing real data in a typical communist fashion to project to the world that the situation is under its control makes its official coronavirus casualty figures are dubious.