NEWS China’s COVID-19 toll is not public.Satellite images appear to show many people are dying

A satellite image taken on January 3, 2022 shows a funeral home in Huzhou with a packed parking lot. An image taken in January last year showed far fewer cars. Credit – Maxar

Recent satellite images of funeral homes and crematoria in several Chinese cities show a marked increase in activity as COVID-19 cases surge across the country and reliable death tolls are hard to come by.

In early December, China made a dramatic shift from a draconian zero-COVID policy to a massive reopening following massive unrest. Experts have warned that as many as 1 million people could be killed or killed in a wave of case evacuations as the population apparently lacks immunity to the contagious variant.Official figures record 37 COVID-19-related deaths between Dec. 7 and Jan. 8 — albeit with photos and videos of funeral homes and cemeteries shared exist social media The actual count is suggested to be higher.

Beijing has been accused of hiding its actual COVID-19 figures since the start of the pandemic, especially as neighboring Hong Kong, which also has a zero-COVID policy, recorded about 1.5% of adults aged 80 and over dying from the disease’s fifth wave The infection is over. Hong Kong and mainland China have also struggled to vaccinate their elderly populations, with infection rates in Hong Kong surging in early 2022 following an outbreak of the Omicron variant.

read more: Why China can’t end its zero-coronavirus policy

While it’s not uncommon for the country’s overall winter death toll to rise, the more than 30 images TIME obtained from space technology company Maxar offer insight into the unique current situation through historical comparisons. Crematoria and funeral homes have seen an increase in foot traffic this winter compared to the same period in previous years.

China, which touted the world’s lowest number of COVID-related deaths, which the Communist Party attributes to its long-running enforcement of testing, quarantines and lockdowns under its “zero COVID” approach – is now facing criticism from the World Health Organization for allegedly underreporting the country The current death toll.

Jean-Pierre Cabestin, a China expert and professor emeritus at Hong Kong Baptist University, told TIME that satellite images “show that the death toll is much higher than the authorities say.”

What does the satellite imagery show?

A snapshot of a funeral home in Tongzhou District, Beijing, the capital, shows that a new parking lot will be built by December 24, 2022, with dozens of vehicles in the photo. The parcel did not exist in the snapshot taken less than three weeks ago.

2022年12月24日,北京通州殯儀館。<span class="版權">Maxar</span>” data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTM5OQ–/><noscript><img alt=Maxar” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTM5OQ–/” -img”/>

On December 24, 2022, Beijing Tongzhou Funeral Home.Maxar

2022年12月6日,北京通州殯儀館。<span class="版權">Maxar</span>” data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTM5OQ–/” /><noscript><img alt=Maxar” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTM5OQ–/ “caas-img”/>

On December 6, 2022, Beijing Tongzhou Funeral Home.Maxar

In the eastern province of Jiangsu, dozens of cars could be seen queuing and parked outside a Nanjing funeral home, according to a Jan. 3 snapshot. These vehicles were not captured in previous images taken on November 9, 2022.

2023年1月3日,江蘇省南京市殯儀館周邊道路。<span class="版權">Maxar</span>” data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQxOA–/” /><noscript><img alt=Maxar” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQxOA–/ “caas-img”/>

On January 3, 2023, roads around a funeral home in Nanjing, Jiangsu province.Maxar

2022 年 11 月 9 日,江蘇省南京市殯儀館周邊道路。<span class="版權">Maxar</span>” data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQyMA–/”/><noscript><img alt=Maxar” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQyMA–/” -img”/>

On November 9, 2022, the road around the funeral home in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province.Maxar

In Chengdu, Sichuan Province, satellite images showed many vehicles around the Donglin Funeral Parlor, including a white van that resembled a hearse. A photo of the area taken a year ago on December 18, 2021 shows hardly any vehicles in the area.

2022年12月21日,成都東林殯儀館附近。<span class="版權">Maxar</span>” data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTM5OQ–/″/><noscript><img alt=Maxar” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTM5OQ–/″ -img”/>

On December 21, 2022, near Chengdu Donglin Funeral Home.Maxar

2021年12月18日,成都東林殯儀館附近。<span class="版權">Maxar</span>” data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTM5OQ–/”<noscript><img alt=Maxar” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTM5OQ–/”fas”b -img”/>

On December 18, 2021, near Chengdu Donglin Funeral Home.Maxar

Why doesn’t China release the data?

China has not updated its daily COVID-19 report for three days, a sudden change in practice that casts doubt on the country’s transparency on the public health situation.

China’s top health official claimed on Wednesday that it was too early to have an accurate tally of COVID-19 deaths and infections, the state-run newspaper reported China DailyChina also only counts deaths from pneumonia and respiratory failure as COVID-related deaths, while other governments use different measures.

Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said the center planned to release excess mortality data to allay concerns about the accuracy of its statistics. There is no determination of when this data will be available.

Professor Emeritus Cabestan said the lack of reliable information on the COVID-19 situation in China could damage people’s trust in the authorities. “The whole information disruption is backfiring [on] government,” he told TIME.

But China is unlikely to become digitally transparent anytime soon, Cabestan explained, with the government likely thinking that keeping quiet would protect its image, and that even with funeral homes in high demand, most citizens would be focused on getting back to normal life and would Forget about policy issues.

“It was a political decision,” Cabestan said.

Related posts

NEWS Zelensky wants to outlaw Moscow-linked religious groups: Live updates


NEWS China’s hospitals, funeral homes ‘very busy’ due to uncontrolled spread of COVID


NEWS Ukraine gets 1 billion euro aid to ‘survive winter’