One of the more bizarre stories this week from China has been the reported huge drop in the numbers of subscribers to the three mobile phone companies. The story first appeared on a Hong Kong news channel with several suggested reasons including, for example, that the death toll of COVID-19 in China could have been much higher than reported. The reporter in Hong Kong was allegedly fired for going beyond his brief.
However, in further coverage from the Chinese media, it appears that the number of subscribers really has declined. The number quoted is ‘over ten million’ fewer. It is not as simple as that of course.
The article takes China Mobile as an example. Although the company added 15.399 million 5G users in the first two months of this year, the 4G service lost 12.64 million users and the 2G service lost 10.871 million users, which caused the overall user decline of 8.181 million users.
Then there is the ‘clean-up’ process that takes place from time to time to eliminate from records so-called ‘passive’ accounts. Furthermore, the Chinese Government is implementing new verification processes for mobile phone users that make it more secure for a new user to subscribe and therefore takes longer.
As always, statistics are complicated and can easily be mis-read. Attributing the loss of subscribers to more deaths than reported from COVID-19 simply does not make sense. The logistics alone make it impossible.
Wars of words
In huangqiu.com there is a long story covering the history of anti-Semitism – in the USA particularly. It seems that the media war between the USA and China continues strongly. Huangqiu.com then also covers a story, apparently in the Daily Beast, in which the US Government is deliberately attacking China’s reputation with carefully chosen news items.
A US official apparently said:
These topics are what anyone is talking about now. They all involve China. We have been told to spread this information in all possible ways, including press conferences and television appearances.
The US government is not only focusing on criticizing China, it is also describing the US response to the global epidemic as “extraordinary humanitarian.” The message said:
The United States and the American people have once again shown that they are the greatest humanitarians known to the world.
And so it goes on.
Huangqiu.com again referring to China’s own response to COVID-19:
Wuhan, with a population of 11 million, was immediately closed, and a large area of the country was isolated. These measures were very severe, but they proved to be very successful. China now largely controls the new crown virus.
This is a remarkable achievement, and experts think so. World Health Organization Director-General Tan Desai praised China for “setting a new standard for controlling the epidemic.
Responding to fierce Western criticism of China’s approach, he countered:
They deserve to be thanked, because they are in the epicentre of strong containment. They are in fact protecting the rest of the world.
The current crisis has fully demonstrated the superiority of Chinese governance. As conditions in the West deteriorate, many people are beginning to realize that China is a role model for the epidemic.
As with media everywhere, the Chinese media has its own way of looking at the world. At present, world news is widely covered in all the Chinese media.