At the beginning of this New Year, after more than six months of pro-democracy protests, Hong Kong is facing another round of challenges.
In late December, a new respiratory illness broke out in distant Wuhan, China. There were 59 cases of “viral pneumonia of unknown origin” reported. Online speculation was that it might be linked to SARS, the flu-like virus that arose during 2002-2003, which resulted in over 8000 infected and more than 750 deaths worldwide.
On January 2nd, 2020, Mr. Gou Wengui commented on the event on a live stream broadcast on GTV, saying that, “Because of information from a Wuhan insider, I have an extreme concern. This person joined a SARS emergency response team in Wuhan, which included individuals from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Public Security, the Political and Legal Committee, and the National Security Council. This person thinks [this viral outbreak] might be a plot. Is this Wang Qishan’s (the current vice president of China) scheme? He is good at designing conspiracies. I have strong worries that this is one of his tactics.” Mr. Guo was guessing that the SARS outbreak might have something to do with the CCP’s plan of restoring calm to Hong Kong.
Then, on January 3rd, the Hong Kong authorities issued a newly created “serious response” warning, as fears spread about a mysterious infectious disease that may have been brought back to the city by visitors from mainland China.
On January 4th, Mr. Guo once again mentioned SARS during a live stream broadcast. He said he heard, from a reliable source in Hong Kong, that after City leader Carrie Lam watched Mr. Gou’s January 2nd live stream, she appeared to be unusually calm and quiet. This raised suspicion in Mr. Guo’s Hong Kong source. In addition, on that same day, Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority reported a total of 8 cases of SARS-like illness to the city’s health department.
Mr. Guo supposed that the CCP wants to be seen as a victim in front of the world and that the spreading illness might be possible bio-warfare. Furthermore, the alleged purpose of spreading an infectious disease would be to isolate Hong Kong for everybody’s safety. He guessed that more people would die due to the situation.
Following, on January 5th, Chinese authorities said the mysterious respiratory illness that had infected dozens of people in the central Chinese city of Wuhan was not SARS. However, in Hong Kong, a total of 15 patients were being treated for similar symptoms to the Wuhan illness.
The mysterious outbreak of “viral pneumonia of unknown origin” seems to have begun in Wuhan. Coincidently, Wuhan is home to the Chinese Academy of Science’s Institution of Virology, which is a comprehensive research institution specializing in basic virology research, with a focus on research of emerging and severe infectious agents. The respiratory illness epidemic in Wuhan is reminiscent of what happened in Russia in 1979 when 96 residents of Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg) became ill without warning. At least 64 of the infected died within six weeks. It was not until thirteen years later that the then Russian president, Boris Yeltsin, finally claimed that a military research facility near the city had accidentally released spores of “Anthrax 836” into the air. One can only hope that the Chinese outbreaks are not an echo of the Russian event.