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China Covid: Fears Increase Following Celebrity Deaths

The official Covid death toll has come under scrutiny as more and more deaths of prominent Chinese citizens are made public.

Given how young she was, Chu Lanlan’s passing away last month at the age of 40 shocked many.

Her family expressed their sorrow for her “abrupt departure,” but they did not provide any other information.

After China’s tight zero-Covid policy was abandoned in December, infections and fatalities shot up dramatically.

Hospitals and crematoriums are reportedly becoming overcrowded.

However, the nation has stopped releasing daily case data and, according to its own stringent standards, has only reported 22 Covid deaths since December.

Now, only fatal respiratory conditions like pneumonia are included in the statistics.

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a warning on Wednesday, claiming that China was grossly underestimating Covid’s true toll in the nation, particularly in terms of fatalities.

However, the passing of Chu Lanlan and other people has led to rumors of more casualties than those listed in official statistics.

Chu Lanlan was a soprano who specialized in Peking Opera, a kind of theater in which actors utilize speech, song, dance, and combat moves to tell stories, and who was also active in charity causes, according to the specialized news website Operawire.

Many Chinese internet users were grieved by the news of actor Gong Jintang’s passing on New Year’s Day.

Gong, 83, was well-known in many homes for his role in the longest-running TV show in the nation, In-Laws, Out-laws. Since the show’s debut in 2000, his portrayal of Father Kang has captured the attention of viewers for more than two decades.

His death’s cause is unknown, but numerous social media users connected it to the recent passings of other senior citizens.

On the Chinese social networking site Weibo, his co-star Hu Yanfen pleaded with God to treat the elderly better.

Father Kang, RIP. Let’s make sure we safeguard the elderly in our families, one Weibo user commented. “This wave has actually taken many elderly lives.

Among the recent fatalities was renowned screenwriter Ni Zhen. The 84-year-old was well-known for his contributions to the 1991 Chinese film Raise the Red Lantern, which is largely regarded as one of the best in the genre.

Hu Fuming, a retired professor from Nanjing University and a former journalist, passed away on January 2 at the age of 87.

He was the primary author of a well-known commentary that was released in 1978 and signaled the beginning of China’s “Boluan Fanzheng” period, which was a period of putting an end to chaos and restoring normalcy following the upheaval of the Cultural Revolution under the leadership of the nation’s first Communist leader, Mao Zedong.

Chinese media reported that 16 scientists from the top science and engineering academies in the nation passed away between December 21 and December 26.

Although none of these deaths were mentioned in the obituaries as being related to Covid, online rumors persist.

One of the most popular comments accompanying the announcement of Mr. Ni’s death was, “Did he also die of ‘severe flu’?

Another internet user complained, “Even if you search the entire internet, you can’t find any mention to his cause of death.”

However, there was also opposition to the protesters who turned to the streets in November to demand an end to the zero-Covid policy of the country’s leader Xi Jinping.

Are those people content to see elderly folks clearing the way for their liberation now? questioned a user of social media.

In his New Year’s address, Mr. Xi seemed to make a passing reference to the protests by saying that it was normal for people to hold divergent views in such a large country.

But as China started a “new era” in its strategy toward Covid, he asked people to band together and demonstrate solidarity.

Although they continue to downplay the severity of this Covid tsunami sweeping the nation, the Chinese authorities are aware of the widespread skepticism.

The director of Beijing’s Institute of Respiratory Diseases said in a state TV interview that the number of elderly deaths so far this winter was “certainly larger” than in previous years, but he also emphasized that critical cases continued to make up a small percentage of total Covid cases.

The Communist Party’s official publication, the People’s Daily, urged residents to work toward a “final triumph” over Covid this week and downplayed criticism of the prior zero-Covid policy.

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