Here I am, cooking in my apartment’s kitchen. My heart beats joyfully with the rhythm of stirring. My boyfriend slurps the rib soup to check if it’s ready. Wait, why did you start eating?
It’s New Year’s Eve.
Here we are, sitting at a round table. The steam of sticky rice ribs billows from the dish. I hear someone’s stomach rumbling. Oops, it’s mine.
We have no idea what is behind the facade of peace.
Jan. 23, Wuhan closed the whole city due to a coronavirus outbreak. I was shocked. Never had I imagined that China would face such a serious condition after SARS. Why? Because we were told we were safe. A few weeks ago, 8 people were arrested in Wuhan because they were spreading “rumors” about the disease. What’s next? 14 doctors were infected by their patients because they knew nothing about the virus.
Here we are, enjoying the big dinner while checking the news updates. A title catches my eye: “An employee in China Customs retained the donated masks for Wuhan.” A few moments later, the news disappears.
The same thing happens everyday. Again. AND AGAIN. The death toll increases everyday, and it hurts. What hurts even more is our government keeps hiding the real number from us. What if people find out the truth of the death from someone they love? In the so-called suspected cases, how many of them are already in the past tense?
A citizen in Wuhan visited every major hospital in the city and posted what he saw online. He wanted us to know the truth. So I saw.
And More Body Bags
That great citizen was arrested two weeks later, and the police said he was under quarantine. So we shut up.
Billions of supplies were sent to Wuhan, from all over the world. The poorest people donated their life savings, because they believe it can help their siblings a little bit. What they don’t know is the supplies never get to people in need. Wuhan Red Cross kept the supplies intact in their warehouse. Simultaneously, countless online shops shipped from Wuhan popped up from nowhere, selling face masks, liquid disinfectant and so forth.
Here is the best joke of the century: I bought the supplies I donated.
I saw the health workers in the front lines making face masks and coveralls using plastic bags with their ever-whiter hands, bleached by all the disinfectant. They pleaded for supplies with no reply. Another day, a government car drove right into the Red Cross warehouse, took out boxes of high-quality face masks; a day later, no trace of this event could be found.
Please, say something, before I lose the courage to believe. My heart is bleeding. If the cost of being quiet is the life of our brothers and sisters, why shouldn’t we stop it? Is this really happening, in the 21st century, in China?
I love my country, as much as I hate what I see these days. The last thing I want is to see my beloved country building up on lies. We could have known the seriousness of the virus earlier; we could have saved more of our people; we could have stood united.
The virus outbreak, surprisingly, unveiled the true color of this great nation — a rickety interior under the impressive facade. How much time will it take for them to realize the so-called “stability maintenance” is only a placebo, not the real medicine? Until then, how much more do we still have to lose?
I don’t want to be Quiet.