Netizens denounce the BBC for partially telling the story that says a Chinese doctor charged 'for treating patient'
Published: Jan 14, 2022 12:40 AM
The file photo taken on July 19, 2017 shows the BBC sign outside the entrance to its headquarters in London. Photo: VCG

The file photo taken on July 19, 2017 shows the BBC sign outside the entrance to its headquarters in London. Photo: VCG

A BBC headline twisting and partially telling the story of a Chinese doctor who allegedly violated the law has inspired Chinese netizens to mock the British broadcaster and denounce the Western media outlet's common practice of covering Chinese stories in a biased way. 

The wave of imitating the BBC headlines on Chinese social media came after the British media outlet recently ran a story with the headline "China: Doctor charged for treating fever patient." 

The patient mentioned in the BBC story, surnamed Fang, is very likely to be the same person who was reported last November as the first COVID-19 case in Fugou county, Zhoukou city in Central China's Henan Province. The county immediately put many areas under complete lockdown or strict management after Fang tested positive.

In the report on Wednesday the BBC said that a doctor surnamed Guo was charged because in China "doctors are not allowed to treat patients exhibiting COVID-like symptoms at hospitals that are not equipped with fever clinics". It quoted a notice from Henan Province, saying that "Guo had treated the patient at a hospital in Zhoukou, from 29 October to 2 November last year".

But BBC did not tell the full version of the story. Without mentioning how and why the doctor committed a crime, the report left the impression that China arrested and accused a doctor who treated a fever patient at a hospital without government-required fever clinics. 

The notice quoted by BBC was released by the Henan Public Security Department on Tuesday on typical violations of law and crimes related to pandemic prevention. 

The full story about Guo, a deputy director of a hospital in Fugou county, is that he violated the national anti-pandemic regulation which requires hospitals without fever clinics to send patients with fever to hospitals equipped with fever clinics through a closed loop.

"Despite being fully aware of Fang's condition, Guo still treated the patient at the hospital that did not have a specific fever clinic, from 29 October to 2 November, 2021, which is very likely to have triggered severe risks on COVID-19 transmission," read the notice.

Guo was put under investigation and prosecuted on suspicion of obstructing the prevention and control of infectious diseases according to Article 330 of China's Criminal Law, said the notice.

Some netizens were enraged by the BBC story that ignores the whole picture, and came up with the online campaign "let's do the headlines like BBC." For example, when the BBC reports about UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's violation of anti-pandemic rules when attending an alcohol-fueled gathering under lockdown, a BBC style headline should say "UK: PM attacked for drinking beer."

"A BBC-style news headline to reveal George Floyd's incident should be 'US: Police charged for arresting suspect'", said another netizen. 

If the BBC had done a little bit more research, it could have found that Fang is very likely to be the same person that later tested positive for COVID-19 and that it was the violation of the rules on prevention and control of infectious diseases by Guo that left Fang free to go to numerous public places and cause grave hidden danger to local public security, some observers said. 

The Global Times found that Fugou county reported its first confirmed COVID-19 case on November 3, 2021 and immediately locked down one hospital in the county and nearby areas. Several places were also put under lockdown or strict movement control.

On November 4, the local health commission released the track of this patient and it shows that from October 29 to November 2, the patient went to the country's Fugou Kangfu Hospital four times and visited a barbershop and several restaurants.

Given the highly similarities between the COVID-19 patient and Fang, it is very likely that he was the first COVID-19 case detected in Fugou on November 3. And Guo, who gravely broke the anti-pandemic regulations and unleashed an infection source wandering at multiple public places, deserves to be charged.