Monday, November 07, 2005

China 2.0

It appears China has learned some lessons on the need for directness since the last potential epidemic saw tens of thousands of foreigners, including this one, evacuate the country in mere weeks.

I was actually ready to write an piece lauding the vast improvements in China's disclosures--which have been considerable. However, it seems like old habits die hard.

There was an AP piece in the Washington Post Express (sort of an ultra-distilled version of the paper, for reading on the bus/metro on the way to work) about China's bird flu response:
China Probing Whether 3 Villagers Died from Bird Flu

China said Sunday it had asked for outside help to test three possible cases of bird lu in people, while scintists and government represetnatievs prepared for a strategy session in Geneva amid fears of a possible worldwide flu pandemic among humans. China said it asked the World Health Organization to help determine whether the virus caused he deaths of three people in a village in Hunan province.
The headline in the People's Daily struck a different chord, however.
China Reports 3 Pneumonia Cases of Unknown Causes
China's Ministry of Health Sunday gave a briefing on three pneumonia cases of unknown causes in Xiangtan County, central China's Hunan Province, where an H5N1 bird flu epidemic broke out recently.
They walked right up to the edge of saying they believe them to be bird flu, but couldn't quite get that out. Maybe some day soon it wont be impossible to admit that *gasp* Chinese people suffer from the same physical frailties as the rest of the world, but as Bob said, "baby steps."

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