Long lines and stacks of ash urns at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, this week are raising further suspicions about the reliability of the official number of fatalities from the coronavirus.
Starting this week, the families of those who have died as a result of the virus have been allowed to pick up their loved one’s ashes at eight separate funeral homes.
According to Caixin, a Chinese news site not affiliated with the state, trucks shipped in around 2,500 urns on both Wednesday and Thursday, while a separate photo showed 3,500 urns stacked outside. It is unclear how many of the urns were filled with ashes. Many families also complained of waiting hours to pick up the appropriate urn.
Bloomberg News contacted the eight funeral homes in Wuhan receiving the ashes, six of which said they did not have the relevant data. The other two did not answer the phone.
The photos raise questions as to the honesty of the Chinese state with regard to the official death account. According to official data, 2,535 people in Wuhan have died of the virus, while around 3,300 people have died nationwide.
Data from the city’s civil affairs agency found that 56,007 cremations took place in Wuhan in the last quarter of 2019, an increase of 1,583 compared with the fourth courter of 2018 and 2,231 higher than the fourth quarter of 2017.
As a result, many people, including the Chinese themselves, have questioned the veracity of these numbers given the pressures placed on Wuhan’s healthcare system, constant revisions in the official data, and attempts by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to cover up the outbreak in its initial stages. Given the regime’s industrial-scale dissemination of lies and misinformation, experts recommend treating any “official” data with skepticism.
Caixin concluded that many more people have died as a result of coronavirus symptoms, but were not included in the official figures. Furthermore, many patients suffering from other conditions died as a result of a lack of treatment as the hospitals were overwhelmed, and they have not been counted either.
Local authorities have also placed restrictions on people engaging in tomb-sweeping activities until the end of next month, meaning they will be unable to observe the traditional April 4th Ching Ming Festival, otherwise known as the tomb-sweeping holiday. Other provinces including Guangxi and Zhejiang have also imposed similar restrictions.
Wuhan, where the global outbreak began, is reported to be returning to normal life after weeks of lockdown with the Chinese state insistent that they had overcome the virus. However, there are increasing signs that the virus continues to spread among the population. This week, local doctors revealed that up to ten percent of patients in Wuhan who were told they made a full recovery tested positive again after being discharged from hospital.