COVID-19; A Weapon Against Chinese Catholics?
Catholic Church demolished in Shandong (Asia News)
On March 23rd, Bloomberg reported that the three major Chinese telecommunication companies lost a combined 21 million cellphone users and 840,000 landlines since December 18th, as confirmed by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. As the world's confirmed cases and death tolls increase at a rate beyond what China informed, it is clear that we must take an objective analysis as to why the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is spreading disinformation.
In particular, such analysis is necessary when Wuhan and Hubei province have been centers to government persecution of Catholics and protestant Christians. Since the Vatican-Chinese Agreement was signed in 2018, the CCP has increased religious persecution and suppression in China, particularly closing houses of worship, demolishing Churches, arresting Priests and parishioners, and in some circumstances, torture and execution.
Chinese officials demolish Golden Lampstand Church in Linfen city Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018 (LifeSite News)
First, let us identify the known facts.
Since the outbreak began in Hubei Province on December 31st, the CCP has informed the World Health Organization (WTO) that the country had suffered from 82,122 confirmed cases and 3,304 deaths. Hubei Province alone accounts for 3,182 deaths.
In February, the spread in China began to flatten and has appeared to be contained, prompting President Xi Jinping to visit Wuhan, largest city in Hubei and the epicenter for COVID-19 cases, and declare that the epidemic was contained and the country was open for business.
It is now March 29th, all Chinese provinces have been opened except for Hubei, which remains under strict quarantine and patrol. The continued security over Hubei, and the virus's rapid spread around the world makes it hard to believe that COVID-19 has been successfully contained.
Late February, only a month ago, marked the initial outbreaks in the United States and Europe, and the virus has halted national economies, forced state of emergencies, caused 637,995 confirmed cases and claimed 30,621 deaths outside of China. People, around the world, are beginning to doubt the information from the CCP and questioning why China didn't properly warn the international community.
So, is the situation in China worse than the CCP would prefer you to believe? Unfortunately, it is highly probable that Chinese authorities have downplayed the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak for their own and the nation's self-interests.
As stated earlier, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) tipped their hat on March 19th to losing 21 million cellphone users and 840,000 landlines since December 18th. Reinforcing the report, China Mobile Ltd. released that their subscriptions fell 8 million over January and February, China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd. subscribers fell by 7.8 million in the period, while China Telecom Corp. has said it lost 5.6 million users last month.
In consequence, China Mobile shares fell 2.7% in Hong Kong trading Monday, compared with a 4.9% slump for the benchmark Hang Seng Index. China Telecom slid 6.3%, while China Unicom declined 6.4%.
As a result, the reports from these companies and the MIIT point to the telecom subscriber data being correct.
But, have 21 million Chinese died from COVID-19?
Not likely. During the month of February, the port of Los Angeles suffered a 25% reduction in imports as China shored up their economy to quarantine from COVID-19. The move greatly hurt consumers, who already suffer from an inflated and devalued currency, leaving them no choice but to cut costs. Most of these lost cellphone and landline users are furloughed workers, migrant workers who returned home, and online marketers of China's "water army," who manage over a third of cellphone and social media 'zombie accounts,' as restaurants and retail businesses have taken a major hit and cut back on marketing.
Does that account for the 21 million? Not if you look at the activity of crematories in Hubei Province over the past 2 months.
On February 4th, the Epoch Times reported that a funeral home worker in Wuhan blew the whistle that the city's seven funeral homes are operating 24/7 to cremate the victims of COVID-19. According to the whistle-blower, cremations began on January 28th and haven't ceased, as bodies continue to arrive.
40 Mobile Cremation Units in Wuhan (Epoch Times)
To support Wuhan's capacity to safely dispose of affected corpses, the CCP delivered 40 mobile cremation units on February 16th, each capable of cremating 5 tons per day.
If you think 24/7 operations and 40 mobile cremation units are overboard to handle the 3,304 reported deaths in China, your intuition serves you right.
Always trust the math; and in this scenario, the data uncovers that Wuhan has more than enough capacity to address the requirement to cremate COVID-19 victims. Using 150 lbs for an average adult, the seven Wuhan funeral homes and the 40 mobile cremation units should be able to cremate 467 and 2,667 bodies per day. That is a total of 3,134 cremations per day, which is greater than the total deaths reported in Wuhan's Hubei Province. Something doesn't add up.
If this information is true, considering the 61 days since Wuhan's funeral homes began operating 24/7 and 42 days since the 40 mobile cremation units arrived, a worst case scenario projects that 140,466 bodies could have been cremated to date. It's not 21 million, but far greater than reported.
So, what's the best case scenario? When President Xi visited Wuhan on March 10th, declaring the virus to be contained and the Chines economy to be open for business, it had been 46 days since the city's funeral homes began operating 24/7 and 27 days since the 40 mobile cremation unites arrived. If the cremations has stopped by President Xi's visit to Wuhan, there would still have been roughly 93,466 cremations at that time.
But, who is to say that the 40 mobile cremation units were ever used? Let's analyze the capacity of the seven Wuhan funeral homes, that could cremate roughly 467 bodies per day. In the 21 days of 24/7 operations, the funeral homes could have cremated 9,800 bodies before the 40 mobile cremation units arrived in Wuhan. That is three times the amount of reported deaths in China.
With this data uncovered in Wuhan, it appears that the CCP has spread disinformation about the number of deaths caused by COVID-19, that the city in fact required the assistance of 40 mobile cremation units, and that the correct Chinese epidemiology model would look more similar to the rapid spread in countries like Italy, Spain, and the United States.
So, why is China spreading disinformation about the severity of COVID-19? Is it the self-interests of high ranking party members, who want to protect their careers? Is it propaganda to protect China's pride, project the nation's global strength, and reinforce the success of the communist system? Or, is it a cover-up to screen attention away from the CCP's internal campaign to purge political and religious dissenters?
There is never one means to an end; so, most of these narratives are at play. On the contrary, China's escalating war on Christians in 2019 may shed light on why Hubei Province is the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mainstream media has paid little attention to the atrocities and religious persecutions by the CCP, this past year in China. Since Pope Francis signed the Vatican-China Agreement in 2018, authorizing the CCP to appoint bishops, Chinese Catholics and other Christians suffered from an increase in government directed and sponsored violence.
Seen as political dissidents, Catholics and other Christians have been arrested, tortured, thrown into prison camps, and executed. The Church, what's left of it since the Vatican-China Agreement, has been driven underground, as it watches the government bulldoze Marian Shrines, tear down Crucifixes, dismantle statues, and raise Churches to the ground.
Christian Percentage of County/City, Hubei Province (Asia Harvest)
Coincidentally, Hubei Province is home to the largest population of practicing Catholics in China. In fact, over 1 million Catholics live in Hubei and have strong connections to neighboring provinces, as Catholic institutions are dominant in North and Central regions of China.
Hubei Province and Wuhan have been the focus of religious persecution for decades, leaving the Archdiocese of Hankou (Wuhan) vacant, without an official Bishop or apostolic magistrate, since 1961. In 2019, religious suppression surged as the CCP announced that Wuhan would host the Military World Games in October.
In preparatoin for the games, local party members and law enforcement were ordered to stop unauthorized public meetings for religious, close or evict prohibited house churches and shrines, confiscate religious symbols and imagery in public view, suspend religious permits, and arrest dissidents and those who refuse to cooperate.
Picture: A church in the Hubei province of China was reportedly destroyed by authorities on April 12, 2019. | Facebook/Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness
Such crackdowns on religion, led to the arrest of two priests and the destruction of a church in Northern Hubei Province, for refusing to adhere to the approved and nationalized Chinese Catholic Church and continuing to operate and support the underground Catholic Church. Hundreds of arrests have been made across China since 2018; many being sent to work camps for political prisoners, some tortured and released, and others executed.
Now, as these persecuted Catholic communities in Hubei and the surrounding provinces are suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, the CCP is ramping up its plans to suppress Christianity. Voice of Martyrs and other watchdog groups, within the past week, have released videos and reports to Fox News, the State Department, and others organizations, showing more Churches being bulldozed, increased video surveillance of religious property, and arrests made to silence those who oppose, document demolitions, and unplug surveillance cameras.
According to Breitbart, other churches have reportedly been vandalized by CCP officials and “unregistered” religious services have been banned on the grounds of public health, using COVID-19 as an excuse to further their agendas. Breitbart also reported that the CCP now grades churches on a 100-point scale of obedience, deducting points for offenses such as improperly displayed Communist flags, and shuts places of worship down if their score falls under 60.
Could this outbreak have intentionally been used to further suppress these Christian communities? Hard to tell; but, as the CCP continues to spread disinformation, keep Hubei Province on secure quarantine, and ramp up religious persecution to further their plans to suppress Christianity, it is worth a closer look and additional scrutiny.
In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.