This Site Listed on MSNBC.COM, as SARS Blog

To my surprise, I found my site was listed on MSNBC.com. Here is the URL:

http://www.msnbc.com/news/809307.asp

In a similar vein, Shanghai blogger Jian Shuo Wang is using the help of e-mail from friends to disseminate SARS information on his blog. “Emails are always quicker than local newspapers,” he points out. As early as February 12, before the illness was even given a name, Jian Shuo Wang was relying on, and blogging about, reports from friends in Guangzhou about concern over the disease taking serious hold on the population there.

screen-msnbc.com-weblog.sars.jianshuowang.PNG

I love the idea of Weblog Central on MSNBC. It is the “gates to the world of personal news”. The best thing is that it gives chances for small sites to be listed on the famous news site. My friend R G runs his site of Tiger Cafe and was listed as Best Food Blog. He was also very happy about the link.

Face masks – I was scared, really scared

Want to know people really feel in a SARS infected areas? I can tell you. Before 11:38 AM today, I can still talk about SARS, the data of infected people and how serious the problem is with ease. At 12:38 AM, I saw the first person wearing mask on the street. At 12:40 AM, I saw the second.

I suddenly doubt the quality of the air – I felt shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. It is true – I mean physically. The world suddenly seems so dangerous – just like everyone is dangerous. Although I feel OK very soon, but I do remember the feeling of the shock at that time.

Feeling the danger

To realize the danger and to feel the danger are too different thing. When you realize the danger, you are not worried. What do you think if you know that in Guangzhou, the traffic accidents killed 1739 people in the city of Guangzhou in the year of 2002 alone? (source: pcauto.com [Chinese site])? You are not scared and the travel and business trip to Guangzhou will not be paused. This number is much larger than the number of SARS infected people in Guangzhou. But the world is just more concerned about SARS than traffic accident – it is not because SARS is more dangerous, it is because people can feel the danger.

3 thoughts on “This Site Listed on MSNBC.COM, as SARS Blog”

  1. Here is some Chinese commentary on the Chinese SARS story by Cyberfree.

    The web link to Cyberfree’s posting is

    http://www.cmilitary.com/forums/general/messages/218646.html

    I found it by doing a search on SARS in Chinese [非典型肺炎] on Topforum

    http://www.topforum.com , a website that collects the most popular

    articles daily from hundreds of Chinese language websites both within

    and outside the PRC. Some Chinese post comments on foreign websites

    outside of China in order to avoid censorship. Chinese speaking readers

    can do their own searches on that site.

    This is a summary translation. See the URL for the full Chinese text

    to get more detail.

    All Too Typical: A Review of China’s Handling of Atypical Pnumonia (SARS)

    In response to the SARS epidemic, the World Health Organization for the

    first time in decades released a travel advisory to all the travellers

    of the world suggesting that they avoid travel to Guangdong Province

    China and to Hong Kong. Deaths occurred in Beijing, so SARS finally got

    the attention of China’s leaders and surfaced as an issue. Now people

    can start to form an understanding of this matter, but the more that is

    made public the more fearful one becomes.

    Speaking about fear, when SARS erupted in Guangdong rumors flew

    everywhere but the government did not bother to investigate. The media

    reported it for one day and then shut up. People heard that vinegar

    could prevent the illness so everyone wanted to buy vinegar. As the news

    spread, the wild purchases of vinegar spread across the whole country,

    even reaching Xinjiang. A reporter from China Youth Daily in February

    even wrote about the panic to buy vinegar and other folk remedies as a

    character flaw of the Chinese people that they would just run wild on

    the basis of rumors. When reporters from Southern TV news went to a

    hospital in Guangzhou Municipality, they demanded that the doctors and

    nurses threw upon the doors of the quarantine area for the reporters and

    let them take photographs in order to show just how “safe” SARS is.

    Seems like some journalists have indeed evolved faster than the rest of

    us — no brain, no conscience and nearly completely inhumane.

    Once SARS erupted in February, no paper barrier could contain the

    flames! At a live broadcast of a press conference held on February 11 to

    announce that the SARS epidemic was under control and there was no need

    to worry, a Yangcheng Evening News reporter asked Director Huang of the

    Guangzhou Municipality Health Department if this pnumonia could have

    been passed to people from domestic livestock. Huang replied “You will

    be held accountable for these words of yours!!” This is a classic

    response. Huang could have answered “yes” or “no” or “don’t know”. What

    does he mean saying “you will be held accountable!!” to a journalist who

    was merely asking a question on behalf of the people? This kind of

    response is very confusing to the Guangzhou resident who watched this

    meeting on television. At the press conference, Huang announced that the

    number of infected people was 290 of whom five had died. On February 13,

    Nanfang Daily reported that as of February 12, the number of people who

    had been cured of SARS and left the hospital had increased to 93.

    >From February 11 to the end of March, all the Chinese web sites and

    forums deleted any reference to SARS. Sometimes phone calls were to

    websites demanding that an article mentioning SARS be deleted. There

    were also no reports in the Chinese newspapers, magazines or televsion.

    >From February 11 onwards, we didn’t seen any more figures although we

    heard of friends or friends or colleagues of friends going into the

    hospital for SARS.

    Finally professors of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that since we

    don’t know the cause of SARS, there is no effective medicine. Medicine

    can help somewhat, but people basically survive or die of SARS on their

    own.

    When SARS erupted in Hong Kong, Hong Kong people knew next to nothing

    about it. Within two weeks, several hundred people had been infected and

    several dozen people had died. The Hong Kong media reported on SARS

    every day including the number of people infected. The government made

    reports every few days and then began giving a daily press conference.

    Then the Hong Kong government immediately released new reports on SARS.

    The Hong Kong government closed the schools and disinfected public

    places. This kind of action made the terrified people of Guangdong

    Province very, very envious! We don’t know anything at all!

    Finally Guangdong Province reported the SARS numbers for February. As of

    February 28, the number of SARS cases increased to 792, an increase of

    250% while 31 people had died, an increase of six times. Is this what

    the meant when they said “the epidemic is basically under control?”

    On March 28 the former Vice Minister of Foreign Trade and Econmic

    Cooperation Long Yougtu told an investment conference in Hong Kong

    criticized journalists for hurting Hong Kong for making too big a thing

    of SARS.

    When a Chinese leader when he heard that three people had died of SARS,

    said “Twelve people in Beijing got SARS and three died? Beijing has ten

    million people! If 500,000 people get infected, sure there would be

    panic, but we don’t need to get so excited.”

    Some people say that Beijing is very concerned about how China looks to

    foreigners. But are Guangdong people foreigners? Are not Guangdong and

    Hong Kong people Chinese? Although the chracters “Chinese” are not

    stamped on my forehead, my identity card and passport are marked

    “People’s Republic of China”. Sure, Guangdong is full of barbarians and

    gangsters, but still, but do we need to have 500,000 people infected

    before someone pays attention? This is telling the people something:

    SARS is dangerous, you could get infected. I can’t help but think about

    the name of a movie: “I love my country but my country doesn’t love me”.

    [Note: a line from the 1980 Chinese play “Unrequited Love”, later the

    movie “Sun and Man”]

    According to the WHO, in Guangdong Province there are 1153 SARS cases

    and 46 deaths. In Hong Kong 734 cases and 17 deaths. The visit of the

    the famous Gushule [??] orchestra to Beijing was cancelled, the women’s

    world ice hockey championship won’t be held in Beijing; the summit of

    the World Economic Forum at Beijing has been delayed was has the meeting

    of the World Intellectual Property Organization, the International Labor

    Organization is considering not holding its conference in Beijing. Some

    American papers are even saying that all contact with China should be

    cut off and demand that China accurately report on the SARS situation.

    Human rights is an excuse to demonize China but what is so sad is that

    we have handed them an excuse to demonize China. Kong, the Chinese

    Foreign Ministry spokesman said that China didn’t report SARS early on

    because the numbers had no reached a level that would require such a

    report. China is safe, China is not an epidemic area. Finally China

    became the only one of the 23 countries and areas in the world reporting

    SARS to be the subject of a WHO travel warning.

    In conclusion, let me quote the “United Morning News” of Singapore:

    “The Singapore people and government know that when faced with an

    epidemic blocking news reports is a very stupid measure. The price to be

    paid for stopping these reports is very high. It is very simple: you can

    stop the news for a little while, but you can’t stop the disease agent

    or the spread of the epidemic….”

    Unless there is a state secret or some other compelling reason involved,

    the people have a right to know about matters relating to their

    interests and safety. If a country has too many “sensitive” matters, if

    the government classifies too many matters as state secrets, and keeps

    people from knowing bout too many things, this shows that the government

    does not trust the people and also lacks confidence in itself.”

  2. The epidemic of SARS appears to have started in Guangdong Province, China in November 2002. The first case of SARS was reportedly originated in Shunde, Foshan, Guangdong in Nov 2002, and the patient, a farmer, was treated in the First People’s Hospital of Foshan (Mckay Dennis). The patient died soon after, and no definite diagnosis was made on his cause of death. Despite taking some action to control it, Chinese government officials did not inform the World Health Organization of the outbreak until February 2003. This lack of openness caused delays in efforts to control the epidemic, resulting in criticism of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from the international community. The PRC has since officially apologized for early slowness in dealing with the SARS epidemic.

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