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Life in Wuhan After Coronavirus Outbreak

Vendors Return in Wuhan as China Prepares Virus Memorial

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Authorities are easing controls in Wuhan that kept 11 million people at home for two months. Pixabay

Sidewalk vendors wearing face masks and gloves sold pork, tomatoes, carrots and other vegetables to shoppers Friday in the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic began, as workers prepared for a national memorial this weekend for health workers and others who died in the outbreak.

Authorities are easing controls that kept Wuhan’s 11 million people at home for two months, but many shops are still closed. Shoppers and sellers in the Minyi neighborhood on the city’s southwest side had to do their business over high yellow barriers, as access to the community is still controlled.

“I don’t feel safe going to a supermarket,” said Zhan Zhongwu, who wore two layers of masks and was buying pork for his wife and grandchild. “There are too many people,” he said. “Many infections happened in the supermarket.”

Residents have been relying on online groceries and government-organized food deliveries after most access to the city was suspended Jan. 23 and restaurants, shops and other businesses shut down.

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Wuhan and the rest of China are preparing for a nationwide three minutes of silence on Saturday in honor of the 3,322 people who officially died of the virus, including doctors, nurses and other health workers who have been declared martyrs.

They include Li Wenliang, an eye doctor in Wuhan who was reprimanded in December for warning about the virus and later died of the disease. He became a symbol of public anger at the ruling Communist Party for suppressing information about the coronavirus, possibly worsening its spread, before it took action in late January.

The party rescinded Li’s reprimand and declared him a hero as part of a propaganda effort aimed at deflecting criticism of the official response.

On Saturday, national flags will be lowered to half-staff at 10 a.m. while air raid sirens and the horns of cars, trains and ships will “wail in grief,” the official Xinhua News Agency said.

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People have been told to avoid cemeteries on Saturday, the start of a three-day holiday when families traditionally tend the graves of ancestors.

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Residents wearing masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus line up to enter a supermarket in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province. VOA

While the United States and other governments tighten controls and shut down businesses, Chinese leaders are trying to revive the world’s second-largest economy after declaring victory over the outbreak.

Still, local authorities have orders to prevent new infections as millions of people stream back to work in factories, offices and shops. Passengers on planes, trains, subways and buses are checked for fever and employers have orders to disinfect workplaces regularly.

Vegetable vendor Xie Lianning said she picked up supplies at a wholesale market at 5 a.m. and drove to Minyi. She was checked for fever at the neighborhood entrance.

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Xie set up shop on a sidewalk in front of closed shops that were covered by roll-down metal doors. The block was surrounded by the head-high yellow barriers installed to keep residents inside during the quarantine.

“Our business is not bad. Here is definitely better than indoors,” said Xie. “Nobody wanted to go inside. People are willing to buy things outside.”

Also Read- The Effects of Social Distancing and Isolation

Wuhan accounts for three-quarters of China’s virus deaths but has reported no new cases for a week. Despite that, controls requiring official permission to enter or leave the city are to stay in place through Tuesday.

Xie said she still was worried about the virus but had to get back to work.
“We have no choice,” she said. “There are old and young in my family living with us. We have a heavy financial burden.”  (VOA)

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US White House Releases Report Announcing Onset of Cold War With China

US has formally announced the onset of Cold War with China

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US has officially announced Cold war with China. Wikimedia Commons

By Aarti Tikoo Singh

With its new vision document on China, the US has formally announced the onset of its Cold War with the Asian giant, accusing it of exploiting rule-based world order and re-shaping international system in favour of Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) ideology and interests.

Just short of calling it Cold War, the US in its latest report titled, ‘United States Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China’, released by the White House, has announced that it is “responding to the CCP’s direct challenge by acknowledginga that the two major powers are in a “strategic competition and protecting” their “interests appropriately”.

Until now, the US policy towards the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the report said, was “largely premised on a hope that deepening engagement would spur fundamental economic and political opening” in China and make it a “responsible global stakeholder, with a more open society”.

However, after over 40 years, “it has become evident that this approach underestimated the will of the CCP to constrain the scope of economic and political reform”.

Over the past two decades, reforms have slowed, stalled, or reversed, the report said.

“The PRC’s rapid economic development and increased engagement with the world did not lead to convergence with the citizen-centric, free and open order as the US had hoped. The CCP has chosen instead to exploit the free and open rules- based order and attempt to reshape the international system in its favour.”

Beijing openly acknowledges that it seeks to transform the international order to align with CCP interests and ideology, the US said. “The CCP’s expanding use of economic, political, and military power to compel acquiescence from nation states harms vital American interests and undermines the sovereignty and dignity of countries and individuals around the world.”

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Beijing openly acknowledges that it seeks to transform the international order to align with CCP interests and ideology, the US said. Pixabay

The White House pointed out that Beijing in its neighborhood, engages “in provocative and coercive military and paramilitary activities in the Yellow Sea, the East and South China Seas, the Taiwan Strait, and Sino-Indian border areas”.

Just a day ago, US diplomat and acting assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, Alice Wells had called out the CCP regime for ratcheting up tensions with India along its borders. Chinese soldiers in the last few months has engaged in several violent faceoffs with Indian soldiers in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Ladakh over boundary issues.

Announcing its approach, the US report said that it is “working in concert with mutually aligned partnersa”Southeast Asian nations, Japan, India, Australia, Republic of Korea and Taiwan on their outlook on the free, open and secure Indo-Pacific region”.

Guided by a return to principled realism, the report said thatA given the strategic choices China’s leadership is making, “the United States now acknowledges and accepts the relationship with the PRC as the CCP has always framed it internally: one of great power competition”.

The White House made it clear that it is not interested in effecting any change in China’s domestic governance model but at the same time said that it won’t make “concessions to the CCP’s narratives of exceptionalism and victimhood” .

The US policies, the report said, are designed to protect its interests and empower its institutions to withstand the CCP’s malign behaviour and collateral damage from the PRC’s internal governance problems.

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The White House made it clear that it is not interested in effecting any change in China’s domestic governance model. Wikimedia Commons

Accusing the CCP of running propaganda and false narratives, the White House declared that it will continue to challenge Beijing’s attempts at false equivalency between rule-of-law and rule- by-law; counterterrorism and oppression; representative governance and autocracy; and market-based competition and state-directed mercantilism.

The US will not accommodate Beijing’s actions that weaken a free, open, and rules-based international order, the report said, adding that it will continue to refute the CCP’s narrative that the the US is in strategic retreat.

Also Read: Smartly Manage Your Sweet Cravings Amid the Lockdown

Using the Cold War terminology, the White House announced that it will work with its robust network of allies and like- minded partners to resist attacks on shared norms and values, within their own governance institutions, around the world, and in international organizations.

The US government said it does not cater to CCP’s demands to create a proper “atmosphere” or “conditions” for dialogue because it sees no value in engaging with Beijing for symbolism and pageantry.

“We instead demand tangible results and constructive outcomes. We acknowledge and respond in kind to Beijing’s transactional approach with timely incentives and costs, or credible threats thereof. When quiet diplomacy proves futile, the United States will increase public pressure on the PRC government and take action to protect United States interests by leveraging proportional costs when necessary,” the report said. (IANS)

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COVID-19: Infections Spike in Russia, Brazil, India as Lockdown Eases

Countries have eased lockdowns worldwide in order to restart their economies

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COVID-19 patients are treated inside a municipal field hospital Gilberto Novaes in Manaus, Brazil, that has become the world's third worst-hit county with more than 250,000 infections despite limited testing, May 18, 2020. VOA
Coronavirus cases are spiking from India to South Africa and Mexico in a clear indication the pandemic is far from over, while Russia and Brazil now sit behind only the United States in the number of reported infections, according to COVID-19 Information & Resources.

The surges come as much of Asia, Europe and scores of U.S. states have been easing lockdowns to restart their economies as new infections wane. U.S. autoworkers, French teachers and Thai mall workers are among hundreds of thousands of employees back at work with new safety precautions.

Russia reported a steady rise in new infections Tuesday, and new hot spots have emerged across the nation of about 147 million. Russia registered nearly 9,300 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to almost 300,000 infections, about half of them in Moscow. Authorities say over 2,800 people with COVID-19 have died in Russia, a figure some say is surely higher.

Some experts argue Russian authorities have been listing chronic illnesses as the cause of death for many who tested positive for the virus. Officials angrily deny manipulating statistics, saying Russia’s low death toll reflects early preventive measures and broad screening. Nearly 7.4 million tests have been conducted.

In Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg, a virus hot spot, all burials now must be with closed coffins as a precaution, irrespective of the cause of death. Previously the measure applied only to COVID-19 deaths.

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Russia registered nearly 9,300 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to almost 300,000 infections, about half of them in Moscow. Pixabay

Russia’s caseload is second only to that of the U.S., which has seen 1.5 million infections and over 90,000 deaths. The country’s prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin, resumed work Tuesday after a bout of coronavirus.

Cases are still rising across Africa, where all 54 nations have seen confirmed infections for a total of over 88,000 cases and 2,800 deaths, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

South Africa has the highest number of cases at over 16,400 and nearly 290 deaths. Infections have increased dramatically in Cape Town and the surrounding Western Cape province, which now accounts for 61% of South Africa’s total.

Latin America has seen more than 480,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and about 31,000 dead. The highest number of cases is in Brazil, which became the world’s third worst-hit county Monday with more than 250,000 infections despite limited testing. Hospital officials reported that more than 85% of intensive care beds are occupied in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Some countries have seen encouraging signs reverse: Iran reported a steady drop in new infections through April, only to see them rise again in May.

But there is new hope after an experimental vaccine against the coronavirus yielded encouraging results, though in a small and extremely early test. Stocks rallied Monday on the news.

In a surprise announcement, President Donald Trump said he has been taking the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to protect against the virus even though scientists say there is no evidence of its effectiveness against the disease and his own administration has warned it should be administered only in a hospital or research setting because of potentially fatal side effects.

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In a surprise announcement, President Donald Trump said he has been taking the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to protect against the virus even though scientists say there is no evidence of its effectiveness against the disease. Pixabay

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin has declared that a partial economic shutdown imposed in late March helped slow the outbreak and prevented the nation’s health care system from being overwhelmed. A week ago, he ended the nationwide lockdown.

He has given Russia’s 85 regions a free hand to determine how they will ease their own lockdowns, but some have been struggling. The mostly Muslim southern province of Dagestan has reported a spike in infections that left its hospitals overflowing.

In India, coronavirus cases surged past 100,000, and infections are rising in the home states of migrant workers who fled cities and towns during a nationwide lockdown when they lost their jobs.
India is now seeing more than 4,000 new cases daily. States including West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and Gujarat, the major contributors of India’s migrant labor, are showing major spikes in infections as the country’s lockdown rules have eased. More than 3,100 with COVID-19 have died, according to India’s Health Ministry.

And in densely populated Bangladesh, where authorities reported a record number of new positive tests at over 1,600, thousands of cars were on the streets of the capital, Dhaka, despite a lockdown. Authorities have relaxed some rules and allowed shops to open ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

In Latin America, intensive care units in the Chilean capital of Santiago have been beyond 90% capacity for days, and officials warned that intensive care staff members are reaching their limits.

“They can’t keep going forever, no matter how many beds or ventilators there are,” said Claudio Castillo, a professor of public policy and health at the University of Santiago.

Infections are also increasing in poor areas of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, where authorities relaxed strict lockdown measures last week, allowing some businesses to open and children to walk outside on weekends.

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India’s migrant labor, are showing major spikes in infections as the country’s lockdown rules have eased. Pixabay

Colombia struggled with an outbreak in Leticia, a city on the border with Brazil, where hospitals were overwhelmed and patients were being sent to commandeered hotels. Colombia has recorded about 16,300 confirmed cases and close to 600 dead.

In Europe and in the United States, which has seen 36 million Americans file for unemployment, economic concerns dominated the political landscape.

Unemployment claims in Britain jumped 69% in April, the government reported Tuesday. European car sales collapsed by an unprecedented 76% last month.

Also Read: These Books Can Drive Boredom Away in Lockdown 4.0

An experimental vaccine by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. triggered hoped-for immune responses in eight healthy, middle-aged volunteers. They were found to have antibodies similar to those seen in people who have recovered from COVID-19.

Much bigger studies on the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness are planned. Worldwide, about a dozen vaccine candidates are in or near the first stages of testing.

More than 4.8 million people worldwide have been infected and over 318,000 deaths have been recorded, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University that experts believe is too low for several reasons. (VOA)

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World Should Give Recognition To Taiwan and Tibet

China opposes any nation which considers Taiwan and Tibet a sovereign country and chooses to stand with them

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China holds vice like grip over Tibet and does not permit any foreigners to visit Tibet to see the conditions for themselves. Pixabay

By N.S.Venkataraman

Chinese government considers any country as it’s number one enemy, which recognizes Taiwan as sovereign nation. Similarly, if anyone country would demand that Tibet should be recognized as a sovereign country, China would  protest very strongly. As a matter of fact, China holds vice like grip over Tibet and does not permit any foreigners to visit Tibet to see the conditions for themselves.

The ambition of China to annex Taiwan and firmly hold on to it’s occupation of Tibet is  definite proof of China’s expansionist plans .

There seem to be lot of similarity between the behavior of the present Chinese government and Hitler’s Germany before World War II.  The present Chinese government and Hitler’s Germany have something in common, in  their  ambitious goal of dominating rest of the world at any cost , with least concern for ethical or moral principles and fairness in dealing with other countries.

Just as many countries in the world are now trying to appease China, then British Prime Minister Chamberlain too visited Germany to appease Hitler before World War II. Churchill called the bluff of Hitler, which is a matter of history.

So far, China could not annex Taiwan, since Taiwan is heavily protected by U S government and China knows that any move to annex Taiwan would lead to a war with USA.

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China violently suppressed the Tibetan protestors after it successfully occupied it. Tibet was clearly not supported or protected by any country in the world in a meaningful way. Pixabay

On the other hand, China was emboldened to attack Tibet and aggressively occupy the region and  China violently suppressed the Tibetan protestors, since  the interest of Tibet was not supported or protected by any country in the world in a meaningful way. China continues to occupy Tibet and the world conscience remain suppressed  as  various governments  want to appease China and keep it in good humour to protect  their trade and business interests with China.

China now claims Arunachal Pradesh in India as part of China and continues to occupy thousands of kilometer of Indian territory , which it annexed during the 1962 Indo China war.  China now claims ownership of islands in South China Sea and Senkaku  island and adopting aggressive postures, inspite of protests from  Japan, Phillipines, Vietnam and other countries.

So far,  China has not been effectively challenged  by any country in the world for it’s aggressive occupation of Tibet and claims on Indian territory and islands in South China Sea as well as it’s claim on Taiwan.

Because of the non caring attitude of most countries in the world, China is emboldened to carry on with it’s adventures to expand it’s territory and areas of influence.

While voice of Tibetans is not being heard loudly around the world, there are countries which speak in support of Taiwan occasionally.

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China is emboldened to carry on with it’s adventures to expand it’s territory and areas of influence. Pixabay

Taiwan has revealed to the world about the Chinese virus sufficiently earlier but  WHO has  ignored Taiwan’s warning,  as Taiwan is not a member of  WHO. Now, the clamour  for including Taiwan as member of WHO is being increasingly heard.

Neither Taiwan nor Tibet is a member of UNO, obviously implying that UNO does not recognize these regions as sovereign countries.

The claim of China on Taiwan and Tibet  and other regions indicate the mindset of Chinese government and certainly represents a threat for stability in the world in the long run. With  free run that China already has, it is likely that China may  further make claims on other countries too in the coming days .The world has to prevent this.

Taiwan and Tibet are two test cases of China’s unjustified territorial claims with little resistance from rest of the world.

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There are countries which speak in support of Taiwan occasionally, but the case is not the same with Tibet. Pixabay

It is necessary that Taiwan and Tibet should be recognized as sovereign countries, which is a necessary step to curtail and defeat China’s expansionist ambitions.

United Nations Organisation in it’s present structure and functioning style, is not in a position to do justice for Taiwan and Tibet.

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Today, there is increasing suspicion in the world  about China’s methodologies and practices. The fact that China concealed the information about the Wuhan virus and did not forewarn the world  at the right time indicates  that China could exhibit irresponsible behavior. Today, the havoc that is happening in the world due to COVID 19 crisis is directly attributed to the China’s indifferent attitude towards the welfare of the world community.

Certainly, nobody should think or say that China should be destabilized. But, certainly the growing thought is that China should be prevented from destabilizing the world and it’s aggressive  methods  of occupying other countries should be resisted.

The starting point to initiate such world wide resistance  to China’s territorial  expansion plans  is to recognize Taiwan and Tibet as independent and sovereign countries. This will show China it’s place.