Chinese authorities announced in early February 2021 the arrests of more than 80 people for manufacturing and selling fake COVID-19 vaccines recently. Police confiscated over 3,000 fake vaccines made of saline water. The illegal ring has been operating since last September, racking up a huge profit.
The effectiveness and safety of Chinese-made vaccines are often questionable. Seventeen infants died after taking hepatitis B vaccines in 2013. Dozens of school-age children came down with vomiting and headaches after they were given the same vaccine. Other controversies surrounding vaccines and manufacturers also raise concerns. As a result, the international community does not favor the Chinese-developed vaccine for COVID-19. Nevertheless, the Chinese government has launched the COVID vaccination in some cities in China.
At the same time, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is also engaging in “Vaccine diplomacy” by distributing vaccines made by China to Southeast Asian countries. But not all countries welcome China’s gesture. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said bluntly, “Cambodia is not a trash can, nor is it a vaccine laboratory.” President Jair Bolsonar of Brazil had refused the Chinese vaccine because of what he called the lack of transparency and information in Chinese vaccination standards. In November 2020, Bolsonaro suspended a Brazilian trial for a Chinese COVID vaccine after a “severe adverse incident.”
Chinese Fake and Counterfeits Products
The fake COVID vaccine comes as no surprise in a country where fake and counterfeit products are common, from baby formula to medicine, from handbags to vaccines. Early last year, Chinese-made “N95” respiratory masks sold in India, Pakistan, and other countries were found to be fake. The masks were advertised as having been certified “N95” by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, when in fact they were counterfeits.
For years, the communist government has been supporting its vaccine industry and trying to enter the international market. But it still hasn’t found its way yet, due to the scandals of bribery and legal battles that has plagued the industry.
Kangtai Biological Products is one of China’s largest vaccine makers. It has developed its own COVID-19 vaccine and AstraZeneca, a British–Swedish multinational pharmaceutical company, has also selected it as its sole partner of COVID-19 vaccine production in China.
But many questioned the safety of the vaccines produced by Kangtai, as its hepatitis B vaccines that caused the deaths of 17 infants in 2013 are still in use today. The Chinese authorities didn’t only clear Kangtai of wrongdoing, but also censored all negative reporting about it. Those who called for more investigations were also met with harassment or detention.
Changsheng Bio-Technology is another biotechnology company specializing in vaccines. In 2017, it was found that its DPT vaccines which had been given to over 200 thousand children were ineffective. A year later, the company was fined for falsifying data for a rabies vaccine and producing an ineffective vaccine for babies. It was said the companies’ top executives had close ties to high-ranking officials in the Chinese Communist Party.
Not only data are falsified, but news can be falsified in China too. On September 23, 2020, the state-run CCTV posted a video on its Facebook page, declaring that Dr. Somya Swaminasen, the chief scientist of the World Health Organization (WHO), had said, “China’s COVID-19 vaccine is effective.” The news was later reported again by its Global Television Network (CGTN) and other media. A week later, the Cyber News Verification Lab at the University of Hong Kong reported that Dr. Sawminasen had never said China’s vaccine was effective. It found the CCTV video was obviously edited.
CCP Is the Root Cause
The Chinese Communist Party has long used fabricated lies to mislead the public. As far back as in 1958, during the CCP’s Great Leap Forward campaign, officials claimed that grain production had reached thousands of kilograms per acre even though they knew it was not possible. Under the totalitarian rule of the CCP, the officials went along with the lies against their conscience and common sense. As a result, forty million people died from starvation in the Great Famine that soon followed in the same year.
Fabricating and falsifying data are even acknowledged by Chinese officials. In 2016, the director of the National Bureau of Statistics, Ning Jizhe, wrote in the People’s Daily that falsification occurred in some places from time to time against regulation, confirming that official data does not always reflect the reality. Another article published in 2012 titled “Falsified economic data becomes the biggest corruption in the field of statistics” implied the economic data from China was falsified.
COVID-19 has been ravaging the world, with more than 100 million people infected and over 2.2 million people dead. Even with the vaccination rolling out in many countries including the UK, US, Canada, and other European Union countries, reports of more contagious variants of the virus are surfacing. At a time like this, fake vaccines and masks from China only make the situation worse.
Many people believe that the CCP is the root cause of all the problems in today’s society. Lessons from history told us that the CCP and its propaganda cannot be trusted. The world should be clear-headed and not have any illusions about it.