An Iranian doctor called China’s coronavirus data ‘a bitter joke’



The official coronavirus numbers from Iran show more than 60,000 people infected and nearly 4,000 deaths. As I’ve written previously, there’s good reasons to suspect those numbers may not be accurate. Yesterday a doctor in Iran suggested that China’s coronavirus data was a “bitter joke.” His comments created a minor international squabble which played out on Twitter:

The spokesman of Iran’s health ministry has said that figures of coronavirus infections and deaths published by China’s government was a “bitter joke”.

Kianush Jahanpur in a video media conference March 5 said, “It seems statistics from China was a bitter joke, because many in the world thought this is just like influenza, with fewer deaths. This [impression] were based on reports from China and now it seems China made a bitter joke with the rest of the world”.

Jahanpur added, “If in China they say an epidemic was controlled in two months, one should really think about it”.

Apparently in response, Iran’s Foreign Ministry put out this tweet echoing China’s PR line and thanking China “in these trying times.”

The Chinese Ambassador to Iran retweeted that with a reference to “rumors.”

The doctor whose comments started all of this didn’t back down. Instead he tweeted that politics and science shouldn’t be mixed. That drew a rebuke from the Chinese ambassador suggesting the doctor needed to pay better attention to daily Chinese press conferences.

A few hours later, Dr. Jahanpur was brought into line. In this tweet he expressed his gratitude for nations who stood by Iran:

The Chinese ambassador retweeted that, adding “Friends must help each other, we will fight together.”

Not everyone was won over by this obvious arm twisting. hundreds of people responded to the Chinese ambassador with messages like this one: “We hate you communists
On behalf of 80% of the Iranian people”

But China continues to use its muscle and PR savvy to manage the political part of this crisis. So far it seems to be working out pretty well for them despite the weeks of lies that allowed the virus to spread quickly around the world.





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