The Chinese government is furiously attacking protestors of the fake vaccine scandal out of fear that public anger could blow up if the topic is allowed to be discussed freely. Protestors have been jailed and government censors are even restricting the usage of the word “vaccine” in social media.
Following the incident of fake vaccines being administered to children, several people have been protesting against the carelessness and lack of oversight that allowed such a thing to happen. And the government has been harsh on such protestors.
Dong Junhua, whose child was one among many affected by the fake vaccines, was planning to hold a protest against the ruling government at Tiananmen Square. However, the authorities picked him up before the protest could even take place, holding him under criminal detention.
“They said he was being held under criminal detention for picking quarrels and stirring up trouble. I asked them on what evidence, and they refused to show me, saying I couldn’t read it. We didn’t do anything wrong. I don’t know what to do right now and I haven’t had any news of him at all,” Radio Free Asia quotes Dong’s wife.
She also added that the officials had asked her never to go to either the government headquarters or Tiananmen Square, threatening her with arrest. Another protestor, Tan Hua, had sought financial compensation for people who became disabled from government vaccines. He has reportedly disappeared.
The public in China rarely holds any protest against the government. But this was one time when the anger of the citizens was very palpable. And the Communist Party tried all the tricks in the book to keep those who protested under control.
CNN quotes a mother of a 2-year-old child, who suffered severe reactions as a result of being injected with fake vaccine, as saying: “I paid for the treatment myself and I haven’t been told [of the cause of the reaction]. The government said that they need to wait for a report. They said my child’s condition has nothing to do with the vaccines, but all the previous examinations by the hospital didn’t find any problems.”
And although the government allows citizens to discuss basic details of the scandal over the Internet, state censorship has been removing any post related to the fake vaccines that it considered dangerous. In fact, the word “vaccine” has been one of the most restricted words in Chinese social media in recent times.
“According to figures from Weiboscope, which monitors selected microbloggers who have more than 1,000 followers or whose posts are frequently censored, the current level of censorship was higher for the current scandal than it was in 2016 for a similar incident involving unsafe vaccines that left four people dead,” says an article by South China Morning Post.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had promised that strict action would be taken against those responsible for hurting children by manufacturing the fake vaccines. However, considering that Li had promised to clean up the country’s vaccine industry about two years ago on the back of another scandal but has failed to actually do so, many protestors see Li’s current statement as yet another empty promise.