To read Houser's entire article, click HERE.
From Liu Zhen's 12-14-19 South China Morning Post article entitled "Chinese Criminal Gangs Spreading African Swine Fever to Force Farmers to Sell Pigs Cheaply So They Can Profit":
Chinese criminals have been exploiting the country’s African swine fever crisis by intentionally spreading the disease to force farmers to sell their pigs for a low price before smuggling the meat and selling it on as healthy stock, state media has reported.
Sometimes the gangs spread rumours about the virus, which is fatal to pigs, but in more extreme cases they are using drones to drop infected items into farms, according to an investigation by the magazine China Comment, which is affiliated to state news agency Xinhua.
The disease has reduced the country’s pig herds by over 40 per cent because of mass culls designed to stop it spreading further.
The resulting shortages have seen pork prices more than double, providing opportunities for the criminals to exploit.
The magazine’s report said that the gangs tried to spread panic among farmers to force them to sell their livestock at a discount rate.
Sometimes they spread rumours about the disease spreading in the locality and may even leave dead pigs on the side of a road to make farmers believe the infection is spreading.
In some extreme cases, the gangs even placed infected feed inside local pigsties, the report said.
“One of our branches once spotted drones air dropping unknown objects into our piggery, and later inspection found [the] virus in those things,” a farmer manager told the reporters.
To read Zhen's entire article, click HERE.
From The Japan Times' 12-23-19 article entitled "China Pig Farm Jams Drones Dropping Swine Fever-laced Products Onto Its Sites, But Also GPS":
To read this entire article, click HERE.
From Helen Davidson's 3-13-20 Guardian article entitled "First Covid-19 Case Happened in November, China Government Records Show":
The first case of someone suffering from Covid-19 can be traced back to 17 November, according to media reports on unpublished Chinese government data.
The report, in the South China Morning Post, said Chinese authorities had identified at least 266 people who contracted the virus last year and who came under medical surveillance, and the earliest case was 17 November – weeks before authorities announced the emergence of the new virus.
The Chinese government was widely criticised over attempts to cover up the outbreak in the early weeks, including crackdowns on doctors who tried to warn colleagues about a new Sars-like virus which was emerging in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province.
The data obtained by the Post, which the Guardian has not been able to verify, said a 55-year-old from Hubei province could have been the first person to contract Covid-19. For about one month after that date there were one to five new cases reported each day, the report said, and by 20 December there were 60 confirmed cases.
The virus, which is now a pandemic, has infected at least 128,343 people across the world and killed 4,702. Of those who have contracted the virus since it began, 68,324 people have recovered.
Almost 81,000 of the cases occurred in China, mostly in the province of Hubei.
Official statements by the Chinese government to the World Health Organisation reported that the first confirmed case had been diagnosed on 8 December. Doctors who tried to raise the alarm with colleagues about a new disease in late December were reprimanded. Authorities did not publicly concede there was human-to-human transmission until 21 January.
Jonathan Mayer, professor emeritus at the University of Washington’s department of epidemiology, said it was “entirely conceivable” there were cases as early as mid-November.
He said there were three possibilities: that cases weren’t detected at the time, that they were detected but not recognised as a new disease, or they were detected and recognised but reporting was suppressed.
“I have no way of knowing which of these possibilities in fact happened,” Mayer told the Guardian.
“We know that there are reports of early suppression of reports of cases, and the ‘whistleblowers’ dealt with rather severely. But in fairness, the signs and symptoms of Covid-19 are non-specific and even now, without confirmatory testing, it is easy to mistake this for another disease.”
Mayer said it was highly improbably that patient zero would ever be identified.
The origins of the virus have become part of US-China diplomatic conflict, fuelled by US officials calling the disease “Chinese coronavirus” or “Wuhan virus”.
It’s widely accepted, including by the head of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention that the virus originated in Hubei. However in recent weeks Chinese officials have started suggesting or outright claiming that the virus did not originate in China, but perhaps in the US, a conspiracy theory that is gaining traction.
To read Davidson's article, click HERE.