It’s becoming increasing clear that the Chinese government is misleading their citizens and the world. While the official Chinese government reported deaths due to COVID-19 is 2,500, Radio Free China (RFC) estimates that 48,000 have died. The RFC estimates are based on the number of cremation urns that have been dispersed in Wuhan and the capacity rate of the 84 cremation furnaces in the city.
Even though the RFC numbers are unconfirmed, they provide a data point that can be assessed to determine whether it falls within an expected range. To do this, we can look at reported infection and death rates to estimate upper and lower bounds on expected Chinese statistics. Once this is done you can decide for yourself as to whether or not the Chinese government is lying.
There are 1,437,843,661 people in China (yes, that’s a “b” for billion). If the under-reported global infection and death rates are used to estimate the expected number of infections and deaths in China, the numbers would be; 136,601 Chinese infected with 6,473 deaths. If the US national infection and death rates are applied (probably more accurate), then the expected numbers in China become 644,927 infected with 11,557 deaths (See 3/30 Quarantine Blog for rates).
Both these sets of projections, are based on reported global and national cases respectively. These numbers are far below those being reported by RFC, which means the RFC numbers do not fall within the expected range. However, if the Italian infection and death rates are applied, the probable numbers in China become 2,323,214 infected with 256,343 deaths. For several reasons, including levels of overcrowding, standard of living, and the quality of healthcare in China, it seems reasonable to assert that China’s actual numbers are worse that those of Italy.
Conclusion: The official Chinese government data asserts that 2,500 people have died from COVID-19, while Radio Free China puts the number at 48,000. Based on reported global, US, and Italian infection and death rates, the likely range for China infections and deaths due to COVID-19 would be 136,601 – 2,323,214 infections and 6,473 – 256,343 deaths. The official Chinese government data falls far below the expected range while the RFC estimates lay within the expected range. While we will never know the actual data of Chinese COVID-19 cases because China is a repressive dictatorship, current statistics seems to suggest that RFC is likely a more reliable benchmark to what is actually going on in communists China.