Wuhan Diary #7: Eleventh Day of the Wuhan City Closure — February 2, 2020

Graphic by 巴丢草 Badiucao

February 2nd, the Eleventh Day of the Wuhan Lockdown

Before I started today’s diary entry, I just searched for “face mask” on Xian Yu (an online second-hand goods market platform) and set the location as “Wuhan”. I found that there were a few people selling face masks with newly-registered or never-used zombie accounts.

I can’t tell if they are selling fake products, if they were Red Cross employees reselling donations, or if they have special procurement channels. But I decided to revise the judgement I made yesterday about the Red Cross.

Considering the cost and high threshold for doing evil things, I thought they didn’t have the competence needed to line their pockets from the donations. Judging from what I have learned thus far, however, I may have overestimated them.

For example, a reporter filmed a video clip showing someone transporting a box of 3M face masks from a Red Cross temporary warehouse to a car belonging to the Wuhan government. “Government Use Only” was painted on the vehicle. They didn’t even bother to switch to a different car. Would you consider this a sign that they have “no principles” or that they are just “unbelievable stupidity”? I can’t say. I only know that it must come from the way they live their daily lives. The only difference this time is that it was exposed for all to see.

Afterwards, the video and its related news were removed from the “Hot Topics” section of that Weibo microblog and the original blog were deleted.

What does it mean when something is “removed from Hot Topics”? It means that “I don’t care whether you have seen it or not. I only care that you don’t see it when I don’t want you to see it.” Yes, this is like the old story about “to plug your own ears while stealing a bell”. They know that we know. They also know that we know that they know but they don’t care one bit. As long as you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. This is the basic logic of “maintaining social stability”. We see them stealing the bell; we can hear it ringing too but must pretend that is is not happening.

If you noticed what the expenditures were for maintaining social stability in the government’s annual budget, you would understand how blantantly unscrupulous they are and to what depths of stupidity they can plunge for the sake of protecting their inexhaustible privileges.

A few days ago there was an argument on a Wuhan local WeChat group that I participate in. Someone had mentioned that a family member, after a CT scan confirmed their coronavirus pneumonia diagnosis, was told by the physician to return home and put themselves into home quarantine. Another member of the chat group started abusing him, accused him of “spreading rumors” and added “I hope your entire family dies!” I haven’t written about this. There is just no way that I can explain it. I can’t even explain why “I can’t explain it”.

I don’t know why that person starting cursing someone out about something that is happening around us everyday. Moreover, this is a local Wuhan group on WeChat. This is the Weibo microblog. I feel that at best that person has some kind of mental problem. Recently, our group of friends has been discussing just how long this “closure” period will continue. At present, it looks like two conditions would have to be fulfilled in order to end the closure:

1) All of the infected people exhibit symptoms.

2) All the infected people get medical treatment and are all put into isolation and cured. The first condition is something that we are all working on. We must wait patiently for God to call out our name. But that second condition? At present the number of infected people far, far exceeds our original estimate. If we include asymptomatic virus carriers and people with mild symptoms, would we have enough hospital beds to accommodate everyone?

According to numbers given on the news broadcasts, the two new hospitals are expected to have a capacity of about 2500 beds. I am afraid that will not be enough even for the seriously ill patients. Recently we have already seen reports of infected people who deliberately spread the virus to other people. It is very important to treat all symptomatic patients the same way.

Today I saw some reports about temporarily appropriating some hotels to isolate people who have mild or moderate symptoms. However, the central air conditioning of the hotels I am familiar with are seem to be unsuitable for receiving and treating infected people. Be that as it may, under the current conditions of extremely constrained resources, would putting all those people together in one place really ensure that they get good medical care? Wouldn’t that just turn out to be the beginning of a new tragedy?

When will it end? I simply have no idea. Sometimes I get very pessimistic. Has Wuhan become a kind of smelter for tempering human material? The ones who make it through this tempering process survive, those who don’t die, until the process finally reaches its end.

There was a suicide yesterday. It is said that a “diagnosed” patient couldn’t be admitted to the hospital because the hospital was overloaded. He worried about infecting his wife and child if he were to return home. The lack of public transport meant he would have to walk a very long distance to and from the hospital in order to get treated. Therefore, he jumped off the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge. This is not the first suicide I’ve heard of these past few days. I know very well the place where it happened though. I may even have rubbed shoulders with this person in the street sometime. Photos and videos of this incident make me very sad.

Twitter link

I can’t verify that it all happened the way that I heard it. But I am convinced that there must be people going through this. While I could think of 100 reasons why they shouldn’t give up on life. I could also genuinely understand the fear and hopelessness they feel. Since I began writing this diary, I’ve tried to stay as objective and as accurate as I possibly can.

Every news item I mention here, I try to confirm by comparing different sources in order to convince myself that it is accurate. I try to stay as calm as I can while I describe these things. But I realize now that I was wrong. There’s just no way for me to be completely “objective”. I am no bystander for I am one of those who is suffering.

This helplessness surrounds me. It is my friends, my family and those close acquaintances I’ve called “uncle” and “aunt”. I can hear them gasping when they have trouble breathing. I can’t bear to reflect on my own attitude to all of this. Is my so-called “objectivity” and “calm” merely hypocrisy and cold-bloodedness? I can get angry! I can get so angry that I shake with anger! I have heard a lot more stories. I don’t have the proof to verify them, but I know! I know which ones must be true. I know! I know that many people are dying without making a sound. They have been people full of life, not numbers. But in death they will not be recorded even as numbers.

Even if every single person in Wuhan were to die, I want someone to remember for us just who the murderers were.

Chinese text:

2月2日 武汉封城第11天























About 高大伟 David Cowhig

After retirement translated,with wife Jessie, Liao Yiwu's 2019 "Bullets and Opium", and have been studying things 格物致知. Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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