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Xi'an Is Fine
A (brief) update.
A few weeks ago, I advised you to Keep One Eye On Xi’an Province, where an extraordinarily tight lockdown by Chinese authorities (combined with some disturbing rumors) was raising my eyebrows:
The rumor is that Xi’an isn’t being locked down because of a covid outbreak. That’s a cover story, according to the rumor. What’s actually happening in Xi’an (says the rumor) is widespread human-to-human transmission of hemorrhagic fever. This is why the lockdown is more intense than an average Chinese covid lockdown, the rumor mill reports: China is actually trying to keep a new pandemic threat from breaking out.
…Two years ago today, I was reading stories about CCP apparatchiks shutting down “rumors” in Wuhan province—citizen journalism that all turned out to be true, and which I should have trusted more at the time. Their heavy-handed suppression of dissent in Xi’an—specifically Xi’an, too; I didn’t see stuff like this when Zhangjiajie locked down—raises an eyebrow, and feels chillingly familiar. The Chinese Communist Party is certainly hiding something.
However, there are lots of possible reasons why the CCP might be blacking out discussion of the Xi’an lockdown, and only one of them is “they’re hiding Ebola 2: Shaanxi Boogaloo.” The most obvious non-threatening explanation is that the CCP is just covering up its own corruption and incompetence. That’s CNN’s angle on it right now, and, hey, fair enough. I think the probability that the rumor of widespread person-to-person transmission of hemorrhagic fever in Xi’an is actually true is still less than 15%.
I’ve continued checking in on Xi’an for the past few weeks. It seems only fair that I share the good news: the Xi’an lockdown ended on Monday. The rumors about hemorrhagic fever have died down. American conspiracy theorists, including Dr. Robert Malone, have picked them up, but the actual rumor mill from China has stopped discussing it altogether, at least where I can see.
By this point in the Wuhan covid outbreak, we had significant leakage of cell phone videos showing that the “bat virus” was much more than the Chinese Communist Party was pretending, and we had Wuhan doctors risking their lives to tell the truth to the world. Xi’an has had its share of cell phone leaks and truth-tellers, but none of them are blowing a whistle on hemorrhagic fever. We’ve seen no hospital hallways crowded with patients bleeding from their orifices. Instead, Xi’ans truth-tellers are blowing the whistle on oppressive quarantine camps, near-starvation conditions under lockdown, and the cruelty and incompetence of CCP officials.
That, I think we can safely conclude, is what the Chinese Communists were covering up all along. It’s not Marburg. Just run-of-the-mill dictatorship stuff.
I still think we should pull out of the Olympics, but for purely moral reasons now. China seems medically safe.
This is how the vast majority of terrifying-but-credible rumors die: quietly. I’m glad I follow them, but most of the scary stuff turns out to be nothing. I just wish the rumors about human-to-human transmission of a deadly new virus had turned out false two years ago, too!