The images of the endless queues of Wuhan residents who came to collect the ashes of their deceased in the eight crematoriums of the city came to cast doubt, Monday, March 30, as to the transparency of the Chinese government. Has China voluntarily downplayed the number of deaths from the Covid-19 pandemic in the country?

On Chinese social networks, the controversy is swelling. According to official figures, 2,535 people died of the coronavirus in Wuhan, and 3,295 across China. Some Chinese media, including the Caixin business website, denounce a state lie.

A survey based on the activity of Wuhan crematoriums

Its journalists made a calculation based on the number of hours of activity of the funeral parlor of the Hankow district in Wuhan during the month of February. It operated 19 hours a day for 29 days. According to their count, some 16,530 cremations have taken place during the past month, alone in this establishment, which contrasts with the official Chinese figures.

Several experts agree that the record of the Chinese authorities has been undervalued. On Europe 1, the emeritus professor of microbiology and former director of the Pasteur Institute, Patrick Berche, is surprised by the low number of victims. "It is very difficult to believe that a country, even with containment measures, has so few deaths," he said on Sunday.

According to Dr Phillipe Klein, French doctor based in Wuhan, interviewed by France 2, "there is always a desire on the part of the public authorities to master figures which can be 'derogatory' for the brand image of a country or scare people. " Drawing a parallel with France: "Currently we do not count the elderly who die in the EPHAD [in the death toll of Covid-19]," said the expatriate.

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