The top Communist Party official in Wuhan suggested Saturday that the government conduct “gratitude education” to teach citizens how to properly thank the party and general secretary Xi Jinping for the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
“The people of Wuhan are heroic people who understand gratitude,” Wuhan party secretary Wang Zhonglin said in comments published by Changjiang Daily. “[We] must through various channels carry out gratitude education among the citizens of the whole city as well as cadres so that they thank the general secretary [Xi Jinping], thank the communist party, listen to the party’s words, follow the party’s way, and create strong positive energy.”
The comments were first reported on in English by the China Media Project, and were subsequently seen by The Guardian. China Media Project reported that the remarks drew strong backlash on social media and from Chinese journalists, and Changjiang Daily apparently removed the article from its website.
Chinese authorities have faced unprecedented criticism from the country’s citizens over its response to the coronavirus outbreak. On Thursday, quarantined Wuhan residents angrily shouted from their windows as Vice-premier Sun Chunlan, one of the highest-ranking officials in the government, visited a residential complex.
“It’s fake, it’s fake, everything is fake!” residents shouted. Video of the incident went viral, and was even shared by China state newspaper The Global Times.
"It's fake! It's fake!" shout residents of a community in #COVID19 epicenter Wuhan in a viral video on China’s social media. They have accused property management of cheating them by only appearing to provide promised necessities. Investigation is underway https://t.co/kzq4gbB4RM pic.twitter.com/0ujObfedR8
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) March 6, 2020
Wuhan residents have been quarantined at home for weeks now, relying on local government workers to provide basic necessities.
China has confirmed over 80,000 cases of the coronavirus and reported 3,119 deaths from the illness.