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COVID in China
China suffered less than we did, medically, economically, and culturally.
From the beginning, the Chinese pursued their own path in response to the COVID pandemic. They locked down earlier and harder than Western countries. With a “zero COVID” policy, they shut down whole cities based on just a few cases, but resisted one-size-fits-all nationwide rules as were adopted in the US and Europe. Their booming economy was set back. They developed a traditional vaccine, not based on mRNA.
Then, at the end of 2022 — perhaps prompted by impatience from their populace — the Chinese health authorities suddenly and comprehensively lifted all restrictions. No more masking, no testing, no travel restrictions. Pundits in the West predicted that a million Chinese would die promptly. Now, reports from China indicate that indeed, a wave of COVID swept quickly through the country in December and January, and for a short while, the hospitals were overloaded. But the death toll was about 1/10 of a million, and the average age for death of COVID patients was 83.5. By the time people began traveling for Chinese New Year (January 22), a truly astounding number of Chinese had recovered from the disease, and they were very nearly back to “zero COVID”. 96% of Chinese test positive for antibodies (IgG), indicating either that they have had the disease, or they have a protective response from vaccination, or COVID has passed through them without symptoms. As of mid-February, there were still about 17% of Chinese who tested positive for IgM, indicating a very recent infection.
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My informant in Beijing was born in Tianjin and educated at the University of Pennsylvania. He writes
“China is back to its crazy pre-pandemic self — crazy traffic, smog, crowded restaurants and streets, like nothing had happened. The pandemic is a distant dream-like past for most people, like we just woke up from a bad dream and as the day wears on, the memory of it is fading fast. Few people wear masks, which are no longer required in schools and public places. People talk about the dreaded “second wave” but no one seems concerned enough to take preventive action. We’ve celebrated a new year.”
Clearly, the Chinese leaders were more afraid of COVID than their Western counterparts, and they took countermeasures months earlier than we did in the West. Did they know something that we don’t know, perhaps about toxins that had been deliberately encoded in the spike protein? Did they fear racially-targeted bioweapon? Or were they taken in by a Western psy-op?
The genetic signature of COVID is a strong indication that the virus originated in a lab. But whether that lab was American or Chinese is not something that science can tell us. Rumors that the COVID virus was developed to be especially infectious in people with a variant of the ACE-2 receptor common in people of East Asian descent circulated early in 2020.
Reliability of Health Statistics
In my journey analyzing COVID statistics over the last three years, I have frequently seen major inconsistencies, and I have been wary of most sources. Almost all the world’s governments have been withholding or massaging the health statistics they release during COVID. Where possible, I try to compare different sources, or to check the consistency of overlapping statistical categories from the same source. Where the numbers don’t make sense to me, I have declined to analyze or to comment. In what follows, I am treating data from China with the same standards I have applied to American and European government sources.
Our World In Data reports that the recent wave of COVID cases in China peaked at less than 50,000 new cases per day, which is a thousand times less than reported by the Chinese government. From what I can tell, the Chinese government is more accurate in this case.
Did China experience excess deaths or depressed fertility?
I have written in the past about a wave of deaths in the West following COVID vaccination, and about ambiguous evidence whether the mRNA vaccines may have suppressed fertility. China vaccinated a higher percentage (90%) of its population than did the US (70%) because they have both more totalitarian control and, paradoxically, more of the people’s confidence. The Chinese developed their own vaccine, and it was made from a weakened whole virus. Just as in the West, the process was rushed and the vaccine was not fully tested. But whole virus vaccines have a better safety record. Generally speaking, the side effects of whole virus vaccines tend to strengthen the immune system generally, whereas viruses made from a single protein tend to weaken the immune response to off-target infections [TED talk by Christine Stabell Benn]
The vaccination campaign in China started later than the West, beginning in the summer of 2021. As in America, the vaccine was heavily promoted by government-sponsored propaganda campaigns; but unlike America, vaccination has not been a condition of employment in China. Has China suffered higher death rates or lower birth rates after the vaccination campaign? I was able to find one report in the Chinese press of the death of a young woman after vaccination. (Here it is in Google translate. Note that Kexing = 科兴 = “Thrive-science” is the biotech company that created the vaccine.)
The Chinese equivalent of our VAERS is called CNAEFIS. This report from the Kexing company, called Sinovac in English, claims that the rate of adverse events from their COVID vaccine is just under 1 in 10,000, which is less than half the rate of adverse events for other Chinese vaccines. It is hardly objective, but it is the only information I was able to find.
Here is a study that reports a direct comparison between the Chinese vaccine and Pfizer, used side-by-side in Colombia. The Pfizer vaccine is found to be 97% effective in reducing COVID deaths, vs 55% for the Chinese vaccine. The study was funded by Health agencies of the UK and the EU, and by the Gates Foundation. Again, it is hardly objective, and it comes from the other side.
Birth rates in China have been declining drastically because of an echo of the one-child policy. The number of women of childbearing age is a smaller percentage of the population compared to any other country.
Caption: China’s “population pyramid” is not at all pyramid-shaped, and the biggest “waistline” is centered on child-bearing age women, even more than men in this age group. [source]
For comparison, here’s the corresponding graph for the world as a whole.
Certainly there was a continued fertility decline in 2022, but if the vaccination campaign contributed to this decline, the effect is well-masked by the major demographic trend.
Deaths in China were lower than expected in 2019 and 2020, despite an aging population (again, due to the one-child policy). Some relapse effect would be expected in 2021 and 2022, but the sharp increase may be 1 or at most 2% above expectations. I am aware of no data that can tell us whether vaccination contributed to higher mortality in 2021-22.
By comparison, I have reasoned that the mRNA vaccines killed 200,000 to 400,000 Americans in the first 18 months, or about 6% to 8% of total mortality. But this is comparing data from different sources, all of which may be unreliable in different ways. US CDC has not yet released either birth or death data for 2022.
Ivermectin, Paxlovid, Remdesivir, Hydroxychloroquine
Ivermectin has been reported to be the most effective prescription medication for COVID at all stages from prevention to long COVID recovery. Hardly anyone in China has heard of it. I don’t have an explanation.
Paxlovid is a high-priced, patented ivermectin knock-off. Small quantities have been available in China, and the wealthiest Chinese competed to get a dose during the recent winter surge.
Remdesivir is a high-cost, high-toxicity antiviral that was heavily incentivized for use in US hospitals, even though the viral replication stage is usually over by the time patients enter the hospital. Gilead promoted remdesivir in China, with a transliteration 瑞德西韦 that means something like “VIrtuous Western Auspicious Method”. The Chinese authorities, very appropriately, conducted a small trial of Remdesivir and decided to pass it up.
Hydroxychloroquine was discovered by the Chinese to be useful during the first SARS epidemic of 2003. It was used against COVID for a short time in the winter of 2020, but the Chinese government recommended against it just as the fraudulent Western studies were coming out to discredit HCQ. Were the Chinese taken in by the scientific fraud? Was the CCP in cahoots with the globalist WEF all along? I don’t have a theory.
China’s Sociology and the CCP — my Personal Impressions
China’s government is far less democratic than our US government, and yet it is doing more of what the people want than our US government. The people largely support their leaders, not because they elected them but because they have witnessed an economic miracle in their lifetime. Half a billion people who, as children, thought that their lives would be spent walking behind an ox plow in a rice paddy are now texting their friends as they ride the subway to the office. It’s also true that the Chinese people have been beaten down over so many generations that they are grateful for what freedoms they have and less inclined to be clamoring for more. Thousands of years of Chinese culture have been rooted in a Confucian respect for rules, family, and community, and there is less questioning, more contented submission than we can imagine.
China has a social credit system, and it is popular with the people I talked to in China. Their street crime rate is low and they want to keep it that way. The last time I was in China (before the pandemic) I was two days late leaving the country on my 60-day visa. I was stopped at the airport and I ran to the ATM to withdraw 1,000 yuan (about $150) to pay a fine. I waited anxiously on a long line, wondering if I was going to miss my flight. When I finally got to speak to a Chinese immigration agent, he looked up my history, waived the fine, and helped to make sure my plane was held at the gate while I ran across the airport. The massive Chinese surveillance network had flagged me as a friend of China, and social credit worked in my favor on this occasion.
China has far more censorship than in the US. The news that is available in government-sanctioned broadcasts and websites is heavily propagandized. The interesting thing to me is that everybody knows that what they read in the People’s Daily is pure propaganda, and they take it with a grain of salt. I find it more upsetting that so many of my friends in America don’t realize that they can’t trust what they read in the New York Times.
Statistics from all over the world have been gamed during the COVID crisis. I don’t think the Chinese statistics are any less reliable than elsewhere, but I respect others who discredit any pronouncements coming from the CCP.
The Chinese public health program in response to COVID seems strange and paradoxical. Lockdowns were tighter but were limited to regions where there were local outbreaks. Chinese GDP growth slowed to 2% in 2020 but roared back to 8% growth in 2021 (compared to 2020). In comparison, US GDP actually declined in 2020, before coming back in 2021, 7% above 2019.
The Chinese used a more conservative vaccine design than the West, which seems to have done less damage. They waited to open the country fully until the milder Omicron variant was dominant. As a result, their COVID per capita mortality rate overall was just a few percent of per capita mortality in the US. (3,000 deaths per million US vs an estimated 70 deaths per million in China)
Time will tell if there is trouble to come in the form of a second wave, or long-term vaccine effects; but for now it appears that China has dodged a bullet.
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