China has seen another upswing of deaths among prominent members of the Communist Party, as evidenced by the raft of obituaries recently published by state media and other institutions to mourn the “outstanding Party members.”
The EG. 5 variant of the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19), which appeared in recent weeks, has spread throughout China as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) battles rising popular unrest and economic decline despite nearly a year since the end of the ruinous “zero-COVID” lockdowns.
“The spike in deaths seems reminiscent of that seen in late December 2022, when the country was grappling with another huge upsurge in cases that saw hospitals and crematoriums pushed beyond breaking point,” as described in an Aug. 28 article by The Epoch Times, a newspaper founded by overseas Chinese to counteract the mainland regime’s propaganda.
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“Among those who have died in the latest wave are dozens of Chinese officials, senior executives, prominent academics, and scientists, some in their 20s and 30s,” the piece added. Most of them were Communist Party members.
While Eris, which is named for the Greek goddess of strife and discord, is designated a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization, so far the strain has not led to increased fatalities from COVID in the U.S.
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Starting in June, cases of COVID-19 have gone up throughout China by around 13 percent, according to the authorities. Deaths have increased as well.
Dajiyuan, the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times, reported more details about recent deaths among Chinese regime cadres.
Police units across China have reported a slew of deaths from unspecified causes among their officers since July; meanwhile, prominent judicial officials in various Chinese cities have also been reported dead despite being in their 40s and 50s.
State employees, especially officials, academics, and executives in state-owned enterprises, tend to enjoy access to healthcare and medical resources not as immediately available to the general public.
The deaths among the Chinese public security forces have, however, been accompanied by those in the Chinese academic field. On Aug. 16, the Beijing Foreign Studies University announced an obituary for Feng Zhichen, a professor specializing in Romanian language, who had died on Aug. 14.
On Aug. 6, Zhang Zailiang, a professor of English and a senior figure at the University, also passed away. His cause of death was given as illness.
Both Feng and Zhang were remembered as “outstanding Party members.”
Other institutions of higher language with deaths among their faculty include those specializing medicine, politics and law, and Chinese language.
Targeting the CCP
While most countries have recovered from the pandemic and COVID-19 has become a mostly harmless endemic illness, the disease appears to have hit mainland China especially heavily, and the People’s Republic has yet to experience a post-pandemic economic resurgence.
The CCP has admitted to just 121,000 COVID-19 deaths among Chinese since late 2019, when the SARS-CoV-2 virus first appeared in the city of Wuhan and later turned into a global pandemic.
However, most international estimates put the true death toll much higher; a recent study found 2 million excess deaths in China since the CCP lifted its “zero-COVID” lockdowns in December last year.
Both the lockdown policies, which saw hundreds of millions people confined to their residences and neighborhoods —as well as “fangcang” concentration camps — throughout China from 2020 to late 2022, as well as the virus itself have dampened views of the CCP among the general Chinese public.
Last November, tens of thousands of Chinese in the mainland and abroad came out in protest following a tragic fire in Xinjiang; during the disaster, dozens of ethnic Uyghur residents burned to death in their locked-down apartment in the regional capital of Urumqi.
In January, Master Li Hongzhi, founder of the popular Chinese spiritual practice Falun Dafa, said that the true death toll from COVID-19 in China was 400 million, and that a further 100 million would die before the end of the calamity.
Falun Dafa (法輪大法), also called Falun Gong, is a Buddhist-school faith that has been persecuted in mainland China for 24 years. Millions of its adherents have been detained and sentenced in violation of their rights; a large but indeterminate number have been murdered, many of them for their organs.
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According to Master Li, the virus is a supernatural phenomenon that targets the CCP.
“A pandemic like the current “CCP Virus” (Wuhan Pneumonia) has come with a purpose and with a target. It has come to eliminate the followers of the evil Party and those who go along with the evil CCP,” Master Li wrote in a March 2020 scripture.
“So, what can be done? Stay far away from the evil CCP and don’t align with the evil Party … The Gods are starting to eradicate it, and all who align with it will be eliminated,” the scripture continues.
Falun Gong, which teaches the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance (真善忍), was introduced to the Chinese public in 1992. Approximately 100 million people took up the practice in the years that followed, with both the government and ordinary Chinese praising Master Li’s teachings and meditative discipline for improving their health and benefitting the moral state of Chinese society.
In 1999, now-deceased CCP leader at the time, Jiang Zemin, saw the large number of Falun Gong practitioners as a threat to the atheist regime’s political power, and ordered a nationwide campaign to stamp out the faith and “transform” its adherents.
Various directives and policies implemented by the CCP in the wake of the “zero-COVID” policy to reinvigorate the economy and boost consumption have fallen flat. The real estate sector, once a powerhouse of China’s economy, has exhibited signs of rapid contraction, with industry giants Evergrande and County Garden failing to make debt repayments.
In July 2022, a leaked database from the Shanghai public security bureau contained identification information for 970 million Chinese; an analysis of the data by Vision Times published this Jan. 17 suggests that the database is a complete national archive comprising the majority of the actual Chinese population (leaving out those too young to be issued official identification).
The official population of China is 1.4 billion.