Archive for the ‘Bird Flu’ Category

Vietnam military to test bird flu vaccine on humans

March 18, 2008

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam, one of the countries hardest-hit by bird flu, will start a human vaccine trial this month, a military medical official said on Tuesday.

A worker injects a duckling with the bird flu vaccine at a duck ...
A worker injects a duckling with the bird flu vaccine at a duck farm following an outbreak of bird flu, in Panyu district of Guangzhou, September 18, 2007. Vietnam, one of the countries hardest-hit by bird flu, will start a human vaccine trial this month, a military medical official said on Tuesday.
REUTERS/Joe Tan 

The official did not give a specific date but said the Health Ministry had approved testing that would last eight months at the Military Medical Academy in Ha Tay province near Hanoi.

“We are going to conduct the tests at the academy, with people joining on a voluntary basis, including students and employees,” said the official, who asked not to be identified in the media.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080318/hl_nm/birdflu_
vietnam_vaccine_dc_1

A rooster looks out of a cage at a whole-sale poultry market ...
A rooster looks out of a cage at a whole-sale poultry market in Hatay province, 25 km outside Hanoi June 21, 2007. Vietnam, one of the countries hardest-hit by bird flu, will start a human vaccine trial this month, a military medical official said on Tuesday.REUTERS/Kham/Files

Advertisements

China Reserved on Bird Flu Outbreak Details

September 18, 2007

By Maureen Fan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, September 18, 2007; 5:06 PM

BEIJING, Sept. 18 — China scrambled to respond Tuesday to an outbreak of bird flu among ducks in the southern city of Guangzhou. But as officials sought to reassure the public, there were signs that China was reluctant to release details about a possible health threat.

The outbreak in Guangzhou’s Panyu district is the first outbreak of H5N1 bird flu since May, but it has been brought under control, the Agriculture Ministry said. The ministry’s Web site said 36,130 ducks had been culled; other media reports suggested more than double that number had been killed.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/18/AR2007091801445.html

China: You Won’t Get The Truth

August 8, 2007

Today, August 8, 2007, we are one year away from the opening of the Summer Olympics 2008 in Beijing, China.

America will be greatly influenced by the National Broadcasting Sytem’s reports, promos and advertisements about the Olympics and China, to say nothing about the activities and reports surrounding the Games themselves.

What China does not want westerners to see or hear is any negative reporting about China. The issue of Human Rights, for example, is not allowed on any agenda.

Just remember: NBC has no obligation to say anything but that which is self-serving. And, because millions of dollars are at stake and China can shut down any media outlet at any time because there is no freedom of the press in China, you’ll see scores of reports from NBC that resemble the sucking-up one generally finds only among teenage male suitors. China is more than NBC’s bride and prize in this money making affair: China is the Golden Goose.

The essay below, published in today’s Washington Times, is my singular effort to provide some balance and perspective on China and that massive country’s government and culture of corruption.

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
August 8, 2007
Photo

China: Less Than the Whole Truth
By John E. Carey
The Washington Times
August 8, 2007

With a public relations scandal involving food and other product safety looming if not already roiling for China on June 12, 2007, the Vice Minister for the State Administration for Industry and Commerce in China said, “We can guarantee food safety.”

Starting in December 2006, news media had reported to the world on tainted (poisonous) products manufactured and exported from China. China denied the allegations but a steady “drip, drip, drip” of news revealed tainted pet foods, seafood, toothpaste, medical supplies, children’s custard and even children’s toys painted with lead based paint.

But, by still claiming that food products from China were completely safe last June, China in fact demonstrated that it “didn’t get it.” China doesn’t know what almost every experienced American movie star, politician and prominent sports figure knows or will soon hear about as soon as a scandal breaks: come clean.

On August 4, 2007, the official China news agency Xinhua quoted the deputy head of the State Food and Drug Administration, Hui Lusheng, as saying “Dealing with and preventing food safety risks is a long-term, arduous and complicated project.” Finally, a probably reliable admission from China.

Why does China “not get it”? Why, when a crisis or scandal breaks, does China at first issue a denial and only reverse course once the mess is a firestorm?

First, China does not have a fully free and open media. During many scandals, especially largely internal scandals, China gets away without telling the truth or suffering consequences.

The second reason many believe that China generally denies the truth to escape responsibility and public scorn is more complicated, cultural and deeply rooted in the communist system.

Because China and other communist countries have no free and open elections, the communist party and its officials stay in power using a system of coercion, force and putting down public unhappiness – sometimes ruthlessly and violently.

Public confidence among the Chinese in their government is not widespread. Public obedience from the countryside to edicts from Beijing are often ignored.

China has another problem: with 1.3 billion people and an immense land mass, seemingly small problems are often found to be huge.

In last spring’s tainted pet food scandal, China at first denied any wrongdoing.

But western reporters found that the pet food was largely poisoned by a product called melamine, which is used in fertilizer and plastics. Using melamine, Chinese manufacturers reduced production costs while still charging customers top dollar: as if beef or other high quality protein products had been used in the pet food.

Melamine is a prohibited substance in American pet food according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, melamine is a widely accepted fertilizer in China. And farmers mix it into livestock feed, pet food and other products because it is plentiful, inexpensive and usually undetected.

When the reporters in China followed up on this story, they asked some farmers why China couldn’t just stomp out those few using melamine. Farmers told them everyone used melamine this way since the 1950s. The reporters wrote their findings under the headline, “Filler in Animal Feed Is Open Secret in China.”

The China government has a three phase plan for dealing with a crisis. The food safety scandal gives us a perfect example.Phase one is denial, phase two is a flurry of activity that does little good but serves to distract the media, and phase three is the “come clean and solve (or at least seem to solve) the problem phase.”In 2003, China faced an epidemic of a disease called Severe Acute Reparatory Syndrome (SARS).

As the story broke that the disease was reaching epidemic proportions in Vietnam and Singapore, China didn’t make a sound.

Then China started issuing denials. Sure enough, after many denials of any medical problem in China, news reports began to come out of China that it, too, was experiencing SARS but that the problem was being competently managed. Phase two was on.

Near the end of the crisis China began to escort news people around hospitals and other facilities to demonstrate the professionalism and medical readiness of China’s system.

It was then that many realized the government of China responded the same way to every crisis. I documented my conclusions in a Washington Times commentary on Sunday, May 4, 2003.

Recall the Bird Flu crisis? Phases One, Two and Three were used again.

The bottom line is this: China has now established the unenviable record as a government that cannot be trusted in many cases: especially when a crisis darkens China’s door.

John E. Carey is former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc. and a frequent contributor to the Washington Times. He has lived in and studied China.

The article above appears in the Washington Times today, August 8, 2007, at:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070808/COMMENTARY/108080004

Related:

Human rights questions remain for China

China, Vietnam and Russia: Torrid Economies, Rampant Lawlessness

China Planning a Surreal Facade for Summer Olympic Games: Beijing 2008

China Awarded First Olympic Gold Medal (In Human Rights Abuse)

People Living Under Communism: Very Limited Rights (If Any)

In this run up to the Beijing Summer Olympics over the course of the next year, you’ll see many “happy face” “news” reports from westerners in China. As I was writing the essay above, Meredith Viera of the NBC TODAY show was sampling food in China during a report from China. Of course, NBC has a huge contract to televise the 2008 Summer games and is in no position to offer any criticism or balanced and rational reporting from China.

So there is a different view of China, an alternative to NBCs, that needs to be known and understood.

And oh, by the way: The web sites of The Washington Times and Peace and Freedom are “blocked ” in China and unavailable to internet users inside China.

Distrustful of China’s Government at Almost Every Turn

July 28, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
July 29, 2007

Please excuse me if I am distrustful of just about everything said and done by China’s government.

Having lived in China, watched China through my own media mesmerized eyes, and witnessed China’s government actions and reactions through Chinese business associates and friends, I have come to be distrustful of just about everything said and done by China’s government.

It is almost as if the Chinese government has been across the table from me for 30 years as we played poker. You get to know intuitively when the adversary is bluffing, lying, admitting, or avoiding.

In 2003, China faced an epidemic of a disease called Severe Acute Reparatory Syndrome (SARS).

As the story broke that the disease was reaching epidemic proportions in Vietnam and Singapore and other Asian venues, China didn’t make a sound.

I was on the edge of my seat nonetheless. I had a Chinese-born American employee traveling and doing business in China. I was worried for his safety and alerted him that there may be some disease spreading, unbeknownst to us, inside China.

Sure enough, before too many days, news reports began to come out of China that it, too, was experiencing SARS but that the problem was being competently managed.

I knew that had to be a lie. Vietnam and Singapore had noticed the outbreak more than two weeks before and recovery had been tough and troubling.

China then announced that the problem was worse than at first thought and the government launched a huge show of activity to demonstrate how hard they were working to stamp out the disease. Near the end of the crisis (and it was a crisis: hundreds if not thousands died in China) China began to escort news people around hospitals and other facilities to demonstrate the professionalism and medical readiness of China’s system.

It was then that I realized the government of China responded the same way to every crisis.

In Phase One, China covered up the problem and denied it existed. The disease persisted and worsened. Phase Two was a flurry of activity to impress the international community that China was on top of the situation. Most of this was for show and didn’t contribute a thing toward ending the epidemic. During this phase other nations like Vietnam and Singapore, that had admitted the problem as soon as it was discovered, eradicated the disease.

Finally, China launched Phase Three: a show and charm offensive to convince the world that it did a great job solving the problem.

I documented my conclusions in a Washington Times commentary under the headline “China’s Ham-Handed SARS Response: Omen of The Future In Disease Control?”

During the SARS emergency, the international media found out, for the first time, that China lacked sufficient medications, medical staff and hospital facilities to properly service its own population. Like many other things in China, the medical system was mostly a sham.

After graduating from medical school, the most well educated medical professionals in China went to the west to work.

The World Health Organization estimated that only about 4% of China’s medical professionals were prepared for a disease like SARS. And the medical staff was severely undermanned.

Finally, the system in place to monitor medical safety is overtaxed.

“There’s no quick fix,” says Henk Bekedam, the World Health Organization’s top representative in China. “China has perhaps been cutting some corners because the focus has been on growth. But they have 5,000 companies that produce medicine. That’s far too many.”

“The government has a limited ability to enforce things,” he said. “They need to start with simple things: reduce the number of people you monitor.”

Today, according to China’s own Ministry of Health (MOH), “In most countries, the ratio of the number of nurses to the total population is about 0.5 percent, but the ratio in China is only 0.1 percent.”

Recall the Bird Flu crisis? Phases One, Two and Three were used again. It seemed to me that there was a certain necessity to this for the Chinese leadership. When you have 1.3 Billion people you can’t have a complicated play book. And forget about innovation. When an American football quarterback would call an audible for perfectly valid reasons; China has to stick to a playbook that is simple and rehearsed. In many troubling situations, the only question China’s government leaders face is, “What Phase do you think we are in?”

In the food and product safety scandal that started in China this past spring, China was so taken by surprise that the government launched Phase Three without going through phases one and two. Despite plenty of signs that the tainted food (pet food, seafood, etc) and personal care items (cough syrup, toothpaste,etc) scandal was a big one, and still growing, on June 12, 2007, the deputy chief of mission of the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C., Mr. Zheng Zeguang, held a mini-news conference with reporters.

The esteemed deputy chief of mission lied to reporters about food and product safety. He said American reporters had grossly exaggerated the issue.

How did I know he was lying? Because reports of products with problems continued to roll in. And because, in Washington D.C., then the Ambassador from China speaks you can be pretty sure he is telling the truth, as far as he knows it. But when the deputy chief of mission is rolled out: the Chinese typically have something to hide.

I hate to give that away but the Chinese know it is true and we know it is true.

At about the same time that the Chinese Embassy’s deputy chief of mission briefed reporters, Li Dongsheng, vice minister for the State Administration for Industry and Commerce in Chiina, told reporters in China that China had developed “very good, very complete methods” to regulate product safety.

“There is now largely no problem with food safety. It is an issue the people care about greatly,” Mr. Li said. “So if there is a small problem, it becomes a big problem for us. So basically for now, we can guarantee food safety.”

That had to be a lie too.

Later that same afternoon, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of some “Thomas Train” toy items. They were painted in China using lead paint which is toxic. Everyone in the world has known for decades that lead paint is toxic.

Of course the food and product safety scandal widened, even after China had said, “we can guarantee food safety.”
Photo
In the toothpast scandal, first poison was found in some Chinese toothpaste brands.  Then Colgate-Polmolive reported that up to 1 million tubes of counterfeit “Colgate” toothpaste had been discovered.  It was made in China.  It was also poisoned.
***************************

It occurred to me that China had entered Phase Three (schmooze, show that everything is O.K. and move on) even before Phase One and Two had been allowed to play out. By not following their own play book, China got tied up and tripped up in its own shoe laces.

What followed was a series of other “summer scandals” including an abuse of child worker scandal (they were making Beijing Olympics 2008 mementos) and a slavery scandal, to name a few.

Today, communist news organs and the India news agency IANS announced gleefully that China had secured another vote to assist its foreign policy goals in the United Nations.

Sudeshna Sarkar, reporting from Kathmandu, Nepal, for the India News Agency (IANS) wrote, “A bounty of 50 million Chinese yuan (over $6.5 million) and promises of more have procured for China fresh diplomatic support from Nepal, with the communist-majority Nepal government stating that it was opposed to Taiwan’s bid to join the UN.”

Excuse me? China is now BUYING votes in the U.N. from client governments and allies?

So we are back where we started.

Please excuse me if I am distrustful of just about everything said and done by China’s government.

Related:

U.N. Vote for Sale: China Buys an Ally

China Plans Happy Olympics But A Few “Small” Problems Remain

China Planning a Surreal Facade for Summer Olympic Games: Beijing 2008

NY Times: China Moves to Refurbish a Damaged Global Image