After being the epicenter of the Coronavirus, China is now getting the attention of the world again. Exclusive reports of The Guardian reveal that the Chinese government is taking down current studies related to the virus. The report said that this action is part of China’s “controlling the narrative” of the pandemic.
China’s deleting current Coronavirus researches says report; Here’s why
According to the report, two recent Chinese academic papers from two leading Chinese universities focusing on Coronavirus were currently taken down by the government. Leading universities in the country like Fudan University and the China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) have recently published studies on their websites. After a while, the posts were suddenly deleted on their database.
The content of the studies, unfortunately, were not identified by The Guardian. However, it was explained that the studies were related to the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
As of now, there is still no accurate report of the origin of the virus. Most of the studies, though, point out Wuhan, China, as the place of origin since the first case was found in the province.
Researches need the approval of the government to publish studies
The main issue revolves around the question: Why would China delete essential studies about the origin of the virus?
According to the report, it is a new rule in the country that Chinese academic research papers should be reviewed first by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology before publication. No studies will be published in the country if the agency hasn’t released approval.
“Academic papers on the traceability of the new coronavirus must be reviewed by the academic committee of the school before publication, focusing on the authenticity of the paper and whether it is suitable for publication,” as explained by the agency. “After the review is passed, the school reports to the Ministry of Science and Technology, which can only be published after the review by the Ministry of Science and Technology.”
The two said universities also explained the scenario of removing articles. Both websites said that researches about the virus is a very sensitive topic and needs to be regulated first by the government to prevent panic.
“Research on the origins of the virus is particularly sensitive and subject to checks by government officials,” said from the notices posted on the websites.
China’s controlling the narrative of the pandemic
Prof Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute in London, explains why China is doing these restrictions. As said by him, the country has now given priority to the narrative of the pandemic since they are the most affected by the issue.
“In terms of priority, controlling the narrative is more important than the public health or the economic fallout,” he said. “It doesn’t mean the economy and public health aren’t important. But the narrative is paramount.”
Is China hiding something, though?
Though there is still no basis on whether China is hiding something about the virus, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that he believes that China was “not truthful” about the outbreak.
He said that “if they had been more truthful with the world, which would have enabled them to be more truthful with themselves, they might have actually been able to contain this entirely.”
For now, though, nothing is still proven right.