Anger mounts over government response | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 28, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:41 AM, January 28, 2020

Anger mounts over government response

Chinese health officials ridiculed for not properly wearing protective masks

Chinese officials at the epicentre of a health crisis are coming under fire for incompetence and being ridiculed for not properly wearing protective masks as anger mounts over the handling of a deadly virus.

Many Chinese netizens were incensed by what they perceived as a series of errors at a televised press conference Sunday by three local officials at the heart of the new virus outbreak.

Governor of central Hubei province Wang Xiaodong held the press conference without wearing a mask -- in violation of the provincial capital Wuhan’s own rules mandating masks in public spaces.

Meanwhile the mayor of Wuhan was wearing his mask incorrectly by having it on inside out, pointed out Chinese users on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform.

“If the mayor doesn’t even know how to wear a mask, how will everyday people know?” criticised one user.

“Incompetent and irresponsible politicians,” wrote another in a scathing comment about the press briefing.

The comments are a rare instance of public anger outpacing the army of online censors in China, where criticism of government figures is usually scrubbed.

By yesterday afternoon, a hashtag on the press briefing had more than 680 million views on Weibo.

Online users also zeroed in on Wang’s repeated fumble of Hubei’s annual mask production -- giving three revisions to his answer from 10.8 billion to 1.8 billion, to 1.08 million.

“As the governor of Hubei province, how can you not know how many masks Hubei province produces?” asked one incredulous user.

Central Hubei province is at the heart of China’s new virus outbreak, which has killed at least 81 people and infected more than 2,700 people across the country and has spread overseas, including Thailand, the United States, and Australia.


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