Arts & Culture 
 Business 
 Environment 
 Government 
 Health 
 Human Rights 
 Military 
 Philosophy 
 Science 
 U.S. Asian Policy 


Home > East Asia > 

Beijing Mayor and Minister of Health sacked for SARS cover-up
AFAR
4/21/2003



Qianmen, a once crowded tourist site is now visited by few.

 Related Articles
Medical waste re-use encourages spread of SARS
SARS: A tale of three cities
Congressional Hearing - SARS in China: Implications for media control and the economy
SARS: Unmasking Censorship in China
SARS: Unmasking Censorship in China
SARS makes Big Macs more costly in China
127 countries restrict visits from China
China still on Taiwan's tail
China's tourist industry suffers $20.4 billion
China has cooked up `American SARS' scam
 
[Beijing, April 21, 2003] In a passive response to the outcry by the international community and pressure from the domestic populace, the Chinese Communist Party fired the Beijing Mayor and the Minister of Health. This move was seen by some long-time China watchers as too late a gesture to quiet the criticism from the general public. In addition, many speculate that the removal of these two senior officials is actually a matter of an evenly fought battle between the new Party chief Hu Jintao and his old boss Jiang Zemin because the Beijing Mayor is from Hu’s camp, while the Minister of Health is Jiang’s close associate.

SARS has become more than a health issue to Hu and Jiang, says an insider in Beijing. Hu sees it as an opportunity to consolidate his power base by siding with the popular demand to rid the officials from Jiang’s camp. But he must make calculated moves and the clumsy cover-up of the SARS virus by the government provides an opportunity to make a decisive move. It is generally believed here in Beijing that both the Beijing Mayor and the Minister of Health only served as scapegoats, as they must have simply followed the decree from their superiors in this cover-up work. The real criminals should be the Communist Party and its ultimate leaders.

Now some major universities are shut down because of the virus. Beijing residents are living in fear because the actual numbers of deaths and the infected overnight have jumped nine times higher than the earlier figures provided by the government — an indication of the seriousness of this deadly disease. It remains to be seen who, Hu or Jiang, will gain an upper hand in this SARS crisis.

© Copyright 2002-2007 AFAR