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China cannot hide the COVID death toll from its people

Smartphones, internet and urban living rule out repeat of Mao's famine cover-up

| China
Patients await attention in the emergency department of Zhongshan Hospital in Shanghai on Jan. 3: Popular demand will grow for an explanation for the lack of preparation.   © Reuters

Minxin Pei is professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and a nonresident senior fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

The surge of infections in China since the country ditched its zero-COVID policy last month has led to crowded hospitals and overwhelmed crematoriums, according to media reports that suggest deaths are skyrocketing.

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