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    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
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    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Highly Infectious Pig Virus Spread to 75% Areas of China Causing International Concern

Posted by Author on August 16, 2007

By DAVID BARBOZA, New York Times, August 16, 2007-

CHENGDU, China, Aug. 9 — A highly infectious swine virus is sweeping China’s pig population, driving up pork prices and creating fears of a global pandemic among domesticated pigs.

Animal virus experts say Chinese authorities are playing down the gravity and spread of the disease.

So far, the mysterious virus — believed to cause an unusually deadly form of an infection known as blue-ear pig disease — has spread to 25 of this country’s 33 provinces and regions, prompting a pork shortage and the strongest inflation in China in a decade.

More than that, China’s past lack of transparency — particularly over what became the SARS epidemic — has created global concern.

“They haven’t really explained what this virus is,” says Federico A. Zuckermann, a professor of immunology at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. “This is like SARS. They haven’t sent samples to any international body. This is really irresponsible of China. This thing could get out and affect everyone.”

There are no clear indications that blue-ear disease — if that is what this disease is — poses a threat to human health.

Though the Chinese government acknowledges that the current virus has devastated pig stocks in coastal and southern areas, it has not admitted what experts say is clear: the virus is rapidly moving inland and westward, to areas such as this one in Sichuan Province, China’s largest pork-producing region.

“This disease is like a wind that swept in and passed from village to village,” said Ding Shurong, a 45-year-old farmer in a village near here who lost two-thirds of his pigs . “I’ve never seen anything like it. No family was left untouched.”

No one knows for sure how many of this country’s 500 million pigs have been infected. The government says officially that about 165,000 pigs have contracted the virus this year. But in a country that, on average, loses 25 million pigs a year to disease, few believe the figures. In part, the skepticism comes from the fact that pork prices have skyrocketed 85 percent in the last year — an increase that, absent other factors, suggests the losses from disease are more widespread than Beijing admits.

And there are other signs. Field experts are reporting widespread disease outbreaks. Fear among pig farmers that their livestock will contract the disease has led to panic selling. And the government and media here have issued alarming reports that farmers are selling diseased or infected pigs to illegal slaughterhouses, which could pose food safety problems.

International health experts are already calling this one of the worst disease outbreaks ever to hit Asia’s livestock industry, and they fear the fast-mutating pathogens could spread to neighboring countries, igniting a worldwide epidemic that could affect pork supplies everywhere.

A similar virus has already been detected in neighboring Vietnam and Myanmar, and health experts are trying to determine if it came from China.

Health experts say China has declined to send tissue samples to testing labs outside the country for independent verification by a lab affiliated with the World Organization for Animal Health in Paris.

The Chinese government says that it has reported the disease to international health bodies and insists that the disease is under control and that a vaccine has been developed and distributed.

But, some scientists say there is no truly effective vaccine against blue-ear pig disease (which is also known as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome); other experts say they are not even certain that the blue-ear virus is the one that is spreading.

Scientists who track blue-ear pig disease are puzzled because the disease is generally not so deadly.

“This virus generally makes them ill but on its own it doesn’t cause a lot of deaths,” said Steven McOrist, a professor of pig medicines at the University of Nottingham in England. “The evidence they put up so far is not conclusive.”

If it is blue-ear pig disease, which has infected most parts of the world, including the United States, it may be a new and more virulent strain.

“This is more severe than we’ve seen elsewhere,” said Derek Armstrong, a senior veterinary scientist at the Meat and Livestock Commission in Britain. “It may be a co-infection of pigs with other things.”

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is now pressing China to share its research and tissue samples……. ( more details from the New York Times)

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