MOJIANG, China (AP) — Deep in the lush mountain valleys of southern China lies the entrance to a mine shaft that once harbored bats with the closest known relative of the COVID-19 virus.
The area is of intense scientific interest because it may hold clues to the origins of the coronavirus that has killed more than 1.7 million people worldwide.
WUHAN, China (AP) — In the early days in Wuhan, the first city struck by the virus, getting a COVID test was so difficult that residents compared it to winning the lottery.
Throughout the Chinese city in January, thousands of people waited in hours-long lines for hospitals, sometimes next to corpses lying in hallways.
BEIJING (AP) — When police arrested the middle-aged Uighur woman at the height of China’s coronavirus outbreak, she was crammed into a cell with dozens of other women in a detention center.
There, she said, she was forced to drink a medicine that made her feel weak and nauseous, guards watching as she gulped.
The Chinese government is taking draconian measures to slash birth rates among Uighurs and other minorities as part of a sweeping campaign to curb its Muslim population, even as it encourages some of the country’s Han majority to have more children.
Throughout January, the World Health Organization publicly praised China for what it called a speedy response to the new coronavirus. It repeatedly thanked the Chinese government for sharing the genetic map of the virus “immediately,” and said its work and commitment to transparency were “very impressive, and beyond words.”
In the six days after top Chinese officials secretly determined they likely were facing a pandemic from a new coronavirus, the city of Wuhan at the epicenter of the disease hosted a mass banquet for tens of thousands of people; millions began traveling through for Lunar New Year celebrations.