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China Blocks Foot and Mouth Disease Reports
Wu Zhigeng, Liberty Times

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Multiple overseas and Hong Kong media recently revealed that Beijing has been hiding the extent of the spread of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in farms near Beijing and in other parts of mainland China.

Hong Kong-based Wenweipao and South China Morning Post reported on May 24 that FMD was discovered in Jiuxian Township in Yanqing District, a northern suburb of Beijing. According to local residents, the disease first broke out two weeks ago, when over 2,000 cattle developed the wasting disease. The local government killed and buried the ill cattle. The government prohibited reporting of the news and enforced martial law to stop traffic from going in and out of the town. The Wenweipao reporter was stopped by the police about ten kilometers away from Jiuxian Township.

An official from the Beijing Agricultural Bureau denied the report. However, local farmers from Jiuxian Township said that many farms in the area are quarantined to stop the spread of the disease. Local residents have been staying home since May 4. Hong Kong-based The Sun reported that the milk cattle farms near Beijing were the hardest hit. The milk cows were almost entirely wiped out.

Last week, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture reported the first bird flu case since last July. World Health Organization expressed concern about the possible continued spread of bird flu in Qinghai Province, where the case was reported in migrating birds.

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