As we learned yesterday, there is a classified government report which indicates China has been intentionally lying about its coronavirus numbers. This raises an obvious question: What are the real numbers? Today the NY Times reports that the CIA is doing its best to get them but it’s difficult to do because in China bureaucratic ass-covering is a national sport:
So far, to the frustration of both the White House and the intelligence community, the agencies have been unable to glean more accurate numbers through their collection efforts.
But American intelligence agencies have concluded that the Chinese government itself does not know the extent of the virus and is as blind as the rest of the world. Midlevel bureaucrats in the city of Wuhan, where the virus originated, and elsewhere in China have been lying about infection rates, testing and death counts, fearful that if they report numbers that are too high they will be punished, lose their position or worse, current and former intelligence officials said.
Bureaucratic misreporting is a chronic problem for any government, but it has grown worse in China as the Communist leadership has taken a more authoritarian turn in recent years under Mr. Xi…
The American intelligence about understated numbers predates recent reporting in the Chinese news media that the death count in Wuhan could be 5,000 or more, double the official number. Intelligence officers have not verified the press reports and have left them out of their reports, according to people briefed on their work.
Remember those reports about thousands of urns being delivered to funeral parlors in Wuhan? Officially the death toll in Wuhan is 2,535. So why did one funeral parlor need 5000 urns? Local residents claim hundreds of such urns have been given out every day this week by seven different funeral parlors that serve the city.