International News

Wuhan celebrates New Year's with packed streets while the western world is locked down

Pictures contrasting a deserted Times Square in New York City on New Year’s Eve, opposite revelers packed shoulder to shoulder in Wuhan, China, went viral on social media Thursday night.

Ari Hoffman Seattle, WA
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Pictures contrasting a deserted Times Square in New York City on New Year’s Eve, opposite revellers packed shoulder to shoulder in Wuhan, China, went viral on social media Thursday night.

Typically, tens of thousands of people from around the world pack into Times Square to see the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, but this year the streets were almost deserted. Police stood guard and barriers were put in place to prevent people from entering Times Square out of fear of spreading the coronavirus.

Europeans rang in the New Year with strict curfews imposed by military personnel making sure bans on large gatherings are enforced.

Yet in Wuhan, where the coronavirus pandemic originated, thousands of people crammed together in front of the old Hankow Customs House building wearing masks for the countdown to 2021 and waving balloons to bring in the new year.

The pictures spread across social media with many influencers and media outlets choosing to celebrate the China’s communist government’s response to the pandemic and praise it over America’s.

What influencers failed to notice in Wuhan was a heavy police presence and strict crowd control. Security personnel were seen demanding several of the few people without masks that they must put one on if they wished to stay.

The festivities come a year after the World Health Organization first received an alert about a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, which would become the first outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Countries around the world have called for an inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO experts are expected to meet in China in January to investigate how the virus originated after the country lied about the origin of the virus and the subsequent mishandling of the outbreak.

Media outlets and social media commenters were quick to praise the oppressive government of China for Wuhan being open for New Year’s while ignoring what actions were taken by the communist government to make that possible. Those same people ignored that the state-controlled media of China only releases images that portray the regime favorably.

Influencers praising the oppressive regime and begging America to emulate their practices, overlooked that China is imprisoning one million ethnic Uighurs Muslims and other Turkic minorities in 260 high security concentration camps. Many of the camps include a factory, so that prisoners can be forced labor for the state as well.

“People are living in horror in these ­places,” said Zhenishan Berdibek, 49, who was held in a camp for much of 2018. “Some of the younger people were not as tolerant as us — they cried and screamed and shouted.” “I lost my hope,” Berdibek told BuzzFeed. “I wanted to die inside the camp.”

President Xi Jinping is determined to crush any possible resistance.

To date, there have been 84,215,177 cases of the virus worldwide and 1,832,620 deaths. Over 20 million cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the US, and with almost 345,000 deaths. Meanwhile, China’s government reported only 87,000 cases and just over 4,600 deaths in a population of 1.4 billion.

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