Within minutes of publishing this essay I received a second opinon about whether Dr. Wong/Wang referred to bubonic plague as a virus; the second translator maintains he never did. Readers who have been closely following this story know much turns on the issue of that one word. For the second translator's additional (brief) comments about the original text, see today's Pundita post at:
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I know you want to put a lid on speculation but even with the glaring errors Dr. Lisa spotted in the Wong discussion, the diseases he talks about are so alarming that it's hard not to speculate. What is your sense about the mystery disease outbreak in China? Do you think it could be a biological warfare experiment that got out of the lab? While I was plowing through Wong's interview I found myself wishing I'd majored in biology.
Ken in Boston"
Bah. If Henry Niman couldn't figure out what Dr. Wong was talking about, what makes you think a degree in biology would be a help in this?
However, a degree in chemistry might help. There is one scenario that could explain everything: the inconsistencies in Wong's discussion, bulldozing of villages, China's refusal to share blood/tissue samples with WHO, the elaborate cover-ups, the central government's decision to address the disease outbreak in the manner they did, and the bizarre virus/baceteria cocktail Dr. Wong described.
Before discussing the scenario, let's deal with the popular speculation that those who died from the alleged "pig disease" outbreak had a compromised immune system.
One thing to keep in mind is that the peasants in Sichuan live with their pigs and with all manner of barnyard gunk that would kill a city person. As Dr. Wong clearly indicated while pooh-poohing the strep suis story, they've got so many antibodies built up that it would have to be a pig from outer space to kill those peasants.
Unless it was a pig dipped in some kind of industrial pollutant or which had otherwise absorbed a chemical in high enough doses to wreak havoc with the human immune system if ingested.
Or unless the pig carried a virus that was unknown to the immune system of the peasants. A killer virus, such as H5N1, which had exchanged genetic material with a virus that made a pig sick. The birth of the Supervirus.
Or, as Dr. Wong stated, the afflicted were somehow exposed to a virus that represented Ebola with one other virus that he was shy about naming and some variant of bubonic plague.
But the alleged Ebola outbreak reported on Boxun in April was at a chicken farm in Guangdong province. It killed chickens and farmers exposed to the diseased chicken blood.
If we set aside Wong's imperfect understanding of Bubonic Plague, his most baffling remarks pertain to an industrial pollutant. He maintained that an unnamed pollutant was a factor at the disease treatment stage -- that, and using outdated medications (the "medical malpractice" he cited as another contributing factor in the deaths).
There have been a lot of deaths in China because of industrial accidents and indiscriminate dumping of toxic waste; indeed, many of the riots have been about this issue. Entire villages are being poisoned and now many villagers are fighting back -- more often during the past year with officials looking the other way.
If shipments of pork meat got poisoned by toxic waste I think both the local and central government officials would be intent on covering this up while hastily cleaning it up as best as possible. I mean -- pig meat. It's like China's apple pie. And it's to Sichuan what cheese is to Wisconsin.
The peasants would really go on a rampage if they heard that industrial pollutants had tainted their favorite staple meat. They'd rampage all over China. The final insult, and all that: Not even our pigs are safe anymore.
And from reports about the riots, a lot of Chinese are blaming foreign concerns as much as their government. Rage has built up about foreign companies polluting, forcing farmers off the land and bulldozing villages to make room for industrial complexes.
So while this might be hard for Americans to imagine, it could be the central government decided that the farmers would rather hear the spate of deaths was due to a weird virus as long as they weren't buying the strep suis story. After all, they are used to hearing about weird viruses and bacteria. But death from toxic waste is more like an invasion from outer space, or to be more precise the invasion of the Crazy Foreigners.
To stay with this line of speculation: Then why would Dr. Wong and the Interviewer (clearly it was a staged interview) even breathe a word about industrial pollutants -- at the treatment stage or any other? I can think of three possible reasons:
First, there's a rumor circulating that toxic waste is responsible for the deaths and Wong was trying to quash it.
Second, Wong was taking a whack at some faction or other in the central or local government by bringing up the topic of industrial pollutants.
Third, Wong was stating a bald truth in the attempt to be open about the disease outbreak; i.e., an industrial pollutant was somehow implicated in the treatment of several patients.
If you want to speculate about #1, a degree in chemistry might help. Is there any kind of toxic waste -- or mixture of wastes -- that when ingested or inhaled produces the array of symptoms reported in the disease outbreaks? Including Ebola-like symptoms?
If so, that would explain why China's government refuses to share data about deaths from Ebola virus: there are no deaths from Ebola. There are deaths from toxic waste poisoning that produce the appearance of Ebola-like symptoms.
That would explain why the government refuses to provide WHO or any outside agency with pathology samples/reports from the "pig deaths" -- the data would reveal chemical poisoning.
And if those wastes or an industrial accident could be traced to a foreign company -- that would explain the elaborate attempts to cover up deaths and the strewing of red herring about the true nature of the illness. The specter for China's government would be Bhopal-type class action lawsuits against industrial companies.
If we stay with this line of reasoning, the bizarre virus/bacteria cocktail that Wong described, and his tortured discussion of Bubonic Plague, also make perfect sense. He was using a scattershot method to cover a very wide range of symptoms that had occurred in a spate of deaths from toxic waste poisoning.
That would also explain why Wong claimed ignorance of the third factor in the mystery disease. Leaving a question mark gives room to come up with another weird virus or bacterium from the medical textbooks that could provide cover for another kind of toxic waste poisoning.
I mean -- if people report their teeth turning orange before they drop dead, there must be some disease listed in the materia medica to cover that. So why not leave things a little open-ended for the present? Who knows what symptoms the next industrial accident or toxic waste dump might present?
If this speculation is correct, China's authorities were caught in the crossfire when a mutated form of H5N1, a wild fowl version, exploded on the scene in May. By late June it was clear they couldn't keep the lid on anymore. About a month later came the Wong interview posted on Boxun.
As to how much money I'd put on my speculation -- none. However, if you want to pursue every avenue, that would be one to attempt to exclude before banging your head against tales of biowar experiments and bizarre viruses
Re the Quoting Raven essay:
Now the clouds over the Yangtse valley are beginning to lift, grasshopper. What a surprise: It's all about politics! The people be damned! (Column B), or We really are here to help you, and are telling the truth. (Column A) Universal statist syntax.
"About your post yesterday with the letter from the MD (Lisa). She nailed a lot of points. I recall that under the Soviet Union when they needed more MDs they trained the specialty needed and skipped all the unnecessary stuff like basic biology, chemistry, physiology and general medicine.
An example of how this worked out in practice -- When an American MD consulted on an ophthalmic surgery case, he was shocked to learn that the Russian MD neither knew nor saw any reason to care about the patient's kidney malfunction. Not to mention what that would do to fluid balance and pressure in the eye.
Liz in USA"
Pundita's comment: If they have the same system of medical training in China, that might be another way to explain the errors in Wong's statements!