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Chinese Colonel: Avian Flu is an American Conspiracy

Categories: East Asia, China, U.S.A., Health, International Relations, Politics

Amid demand in China for more transparency about the avian flu outbreak that has already killed seven people [1], a People's Liberation Army colonel has claimed that the virus is an American conspiracy. Dai Xu [2], a PLA air force commander, also suggested the Chinese government should not concern itself too much in tackling the problem as the death toll will be low.

Dai made the comment [3] in his micro-blog on April 6, 2013:


Dai Xu appears in China Central Television occasionally to comment on international relation. Screen Capture Image.

Dai Xu appears in China Central Television occasionally to comment on international relations. Screen Capture Image.

In dealing with the avian flu which has been widely discussed online, the central authorities should not be too concerned. Else we will fall into the trap like we did back in 2003 during SARS! At that time Country M [USA] wanted to attack Iraq and was worried that China would take action, so they adopted bio-psychological weapons and China fell into chaos as Country M had anticipated. Now Country M uses the same old tactic and China has to learn lessons from the past. Take it easy — no so many people will die, the death toll will not exceed one thousandth of the deaths from car accidents in China.

His remark drew much criticism and he closed the comment section on the post the next day. He then explained away [4] the criticisms with the same conspiracy theory:


I expressed yesterday my wish that people should deal with the avian flu with a cool mind and should not fall into panic like what happened back in 2003. The so-called public intellectuals in China fed with toxic American thinking and the group of unidentifiable accounts kept barking at me like a rabies outbreak! It lets Chinese people see the bad eggs clearly and reflects the dark and misty atmosphere of the Chinese internet public sphere.

Below is a selection of the so-called rabies outbreak of comments:

@纯真狼图腾 [5]:现役军人戴旭就禽流感公开发布的血腥言论引起愤慨,其行为令人深为忧虑,作为军官的戴旭公开发表反人类言论,是对人性和社会底线的挑战,对民众安危和公众智商的嘲弄。对人民负责就不能容忍如此丑类担任要职,对此事处理可以检验到底是新政还是旧政!作为现役大校,戴某必须引咎辞职并向逝者家属道歉!

@Innocent Wolf Totem: Soldier Dai Xu's comment on avian flu is outraging. Such behavior is also distressing. The fact that as an air commander he can openly say something belittling human life challenges what we consider a baseline of humanity. He also ridicules people's security and public intelligence. How can a responsible government allow such a bad sort to take up an important position? How the matter is handled will be a test to the new government. Dai should resigned from his position and apologize to the victims of the avian flu.

@鹤鸣居-清风 [6]:中国从来不缺像这个小戴旭式的人物:他们口口声声爱国家、坚决保护捍卫国家利益、自视国家栋梁,他们享受国家优厚俸禄待遇过着衣食无忧甚至花天酒地奢侈淫逸的生活,他们眼里心里只有给他们俸禄待遇的上级领导和组织,打着国家的幌子为其上级领导和组织卖命,无视人民利益无视民生民权。实质是国家败类

@Crane Hut Breeze: China is full of nobodies like Dai Xu: They claim that they love the country and defend the country's interests. They see themselves as the pillars of the country and enjoy all the benefits and a luxurious lifestyle with good wine and clothes. They only work for their supervisors and [the Party] organization which gives them good lives in the name of the nation. But they disregard people's interests and rights in their acts. They are the country's scumbags.

@通州府尹 [7]:没有微博的时候,@戴旭 被神化成了神。有了微博,戴旭自我暴露成了一个渣。

@Magistrate Of Ancient Tongzhou city: @Dai Xu would be turned into God if there were no Weibo.

@所罗门圣徒 [8]:如@戴旭 这样的人成为军人真是让人毛骨悚然,死亡难道对你来说只是数字吗?你连军人起码的素质都没有。真要打仗了,你绝对就是个屠夫。如果你真的觉得死几个人没问题那就请你和你全家先死,对你来说的生命只是数字,但对于失去亲人的家庭,他们失去的是他们的全部。

@Disciple Of Solomon: Soldiers like Dai Xu make people feel creeped out. To you death has been reduced to number? You are not qualified to be solider. If there is war, you will be a slaughterer. If you really feel that it is okay for a few people to die, you and your family should die first. Life is just a number to you, but for those who have lost their family members, they lost everything.

Hu Xijin, the chief editor of Global Times, the CCP's mouthpiece tried to cool people's anger [9] by taking a more neutral position:

一,我不同意@戴旭 对H7N9禽流感的评论,我认为他说的过于片面,我也不能相信他的分析。二,戴旭是一名军人学者,他参与公共话题的讨论应被鼓励。军人学者这些年参与尖锐话题讨论,总体上促进了中国的信息开放。三,戴旭观点不对时,自有舆论批评他,他的形象和信誉会付出代价。四,官方不应干预此事。

One, I don't agree with Dai Xu's comment on H7N9 Avian flu. He is too impartial and I can't trust his analysis. Two, Dai Xu is a solider and a scholar. He should be encouraged to participate in current affairs discussion. Their participation will help China to be more transparent. Three, when Dai Xu is wrong, the public will criticize him and he will lose his credibility. Four, the government authority should not intervene in this.

In Hu's comment thread, some adopt the liberal position and agree that Dai's rights should be defended, but some point out that as a PLA soldier, Dai's opinion does not only represent his own:

天涯流浪007 [10]:“我虽然不同意你的观点,但我誓死捍卫你说话的权利!”这是民主政治的要义。坚决反对以言获罪的做法!人人都有发表自己意见的权利,对不同意见动辄挥以大棒,以“罢官”、“开除军籍”相威胁,是封建专制制度的作法。我们受害了几千年,惨痛教训不应忘记。难道我们还愿意生活在一个没有言论自由的时代?

World Wanderer 007: “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it” is the basic principle of democratic politics. Against free speech prosecution! Everyone should have the right to express their opinion. It is feudal behavior to threaten people by demanding the authorities “sack” those who you disagree with. We should not forget our historical lessons. Can we live in an era when we don't have freedom of speech?

putianzhixia110 [11]:要是老百姓这么说官方不应干预,但是国家公职人员说出这话,官方就得干预,胡总老是对自己人特别宽容

@putianzhixia110: The government should not intervene if ordinary people say such a thing. But Dai is a government official and the government should intervene. Chief editor Hu is being very lenient to his own kind.

skymedia3 [12]:解放军的性质决定一点:必须听党中央指挥。一个现役军人,不管是学者还是指挥官,公开的一言一行不得玩个性,这是铁的纪律。因此,几位将军的话,就有可能被认为是党中央的决策。真心建议几位闭嘴为好,起码不要为自己找麻烦。

skymedia3: The nature of PLA makes a difference: They have to obey the central Party authority. As a solider, no matter if he is a scholar or a commander, public speech should not be personal. This is strict discipline. If a number of commanders echo each other in their posts, people may think that the decision comes from the central Party. I suggest to them to keep their mouths shut and don't get themselves into trouble.