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Coronavirus

In Wuhan, Ashes 'Mixed Together' Impossible To Identify

In the Chinese city where coronavirus first appeared,  the death toll may be much higher than official numbers. Ugly truths are now appearing as survivors wait in line to pick up remains of loved ones.

Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan visits Wuhan this week.
Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan visits Wuhan this week.

It's been one week since residents in Wuhan, the Chinese city where Covid-19 originated, have been allowed to collect the ashes of their family members who died during the epidemic. The long lines outside each of Wuhan's eight crematoria suggest the official coronavirus death count of 2,531 may be just a fraction of the true toll. But reports say despair is spreading among the relatives of the victims for another reason: the ashes may not be identifiable.

Tang Dynasty Television reported that social media posts by a local resident named Qin Peng, who said one of the crematorium confirmed to him that the ashes of all the dead were "mixed together, and just divided into equal amounts in the funeral urns in accordance with the total death toll."

"This is definitely 100% possible," another anonymous Wuhan citizen told the network. "During the peak time of the pandemic, the crematoria were burning several corpses at one time in each incinerator. No family member was allowed to be present. Who knows what they were doing."


For the coming weeks, Worldcrunch will be delivering daily updates on the coronavirus pandemic from the best, most trusted international news sources — regardless of language or geography. To receive the daily Coronavirus global brief in your inbox, sign up here.

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Economy

Post-Pandemic Reflections On The Accumulation Of State Power

The public sector has seen a revival in response to COVID-19. This can be a good thing, but must be checked carefully because history tells us of the risks of too much control in the government's hands.

photo of 2 nurses in india walking past graffiti that says "democracy'

Medical students protesting at Calcutta Medical Collage and Hospital.

Sudipta Das/Pacific Press via ZUMA
Vibhav Mariwala

-Analysis-

NEW DELHI — The COVID-19 pandemic marked the beginning of a period of heightened global tensions, social and economic upheaval and of a sustained increase in state intervention in the economy. Consequently, the state has acquired significant powers in managing people’s personal lives, starting from lockdowns and quarantine measures, to providing stimulus and furlough schemes, and now, the regulation of energy consumption.

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