Update at January 30 - regarding the doctor who was disciplined for sharing information on the virus with his wechat group - there are now eight doctors in Wuhan who have been so disciplined. In at least one case, the information sharing was among a wechat group of doctors involved in treating the infection. You know the phrase, "No good deed goes unpunished." No doubt these doctors -involved as they were in fighting this disease, without break for days - forgot the cardinal rule I mentioned below in the original post - "no one should comment without knowing all the facts." Only the government can know all the facts.
A piece of good news, though. The director of the local health commission in Huanggang, a city in eastern Hubei province, has been fired. This director was being interviewed by a journalist, who asked a series of questions along the lines of how many infections there are in Huanggang, how many hospital beds there are, what shortages of supplies there are. To all questions, the director answered, "I don't know." Answers to all these questions would be part of her portfolio, and she demonstrated incompetence, rather forcefully. Perhaps she was just waiting for all the facts.
Breaking – Coronavirus information now under control Tuesday, January 28 10:00 AM
From three days ago -
… According to the meeting, Xi has been paying very close attention to the outbreak as he held multiple meetings, heard many reports and made important instructions on the matter, demanding Party committees and governments at all levels and related departments to put people's life and health as the top priority.
From yesterday -
… Li, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of a leading group of the CPC Central Committee on the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak, extended regards to the medical workers at the frontline on behalf of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council.
In a wechat post from about a week ago, now deleted, a doctor from one of the four leading Wuhan hospitals let members of his group know of the dangers of the virus. The doctor was treating virus patients, and presumably was one of those who were not allowed to leave the hospital, or were unable to leave without transportation. In his private wechat group, he told people to be careful, not go into closed public areas and wear a mask. This was about a week ago, before the central government acknowledged the existence of the virus.
Ever watchful wechat censors found the post and deleted it. Also deleted now, as of a couple of hours ago, is a journalist’s story about the deletion and the fate of the doctor. He was called into a meeting at the hospital, reprimanded and told to never disclose information about the spread of the disease.
At 1:30 in the morning, the doctor was called by the police, and told to report to the local police station, where he was told to write a confession about his transgressions – no doubt, something along the lines of the standard Chinese crime of “causing trouble.” He wrote, and signed, and was warned to never do such a thing again.
The doctor is now in the hospital, this time sick with the virus. His parents are now sick as well, along with his pregnant wife. He cannot be arrested right now, since he is sick. No doubt there will be plenty of news coverage of his fate when he is out of the hospital.
Mr. Xi should be pleased. The people’s life and health are being protected from direct, on the ground information that might endanger people’s sense of trust in the government. And Mr. Li should be please as well. This particular medical worker has been highly regarded by the hospital administrators, the local health bureau, and the police.
There is a self-serving CCP meme about public information that has circulated for decades in China - "no one should comment without knowing all the facts." Since no one can ever know all the facts about anything, this serves as a warning for people to keep their mouths shut. There are Chinese who refuse to respect this warning. But "serving the people," another CCP meme, is apparently not what is wanted by the authorities. And we see the absolute value in the US of whistle-blower laws.