Chinese scholar Li Yi recently ‘jokingly’ claimed that the COVID-19-related deaths of 4,000 people in China “equals to no deaths at all” compared to the 220,000 deaths in the United States.
Li made his remarks at the Shenzhenwan Dialog Forum on 16 October.
His comments have since garnered criticism from the public, condemning him for the “cold-blooded” and “inhumane” nature of his words.
Stating that North Korea and China are ranked first and second in COVID-19 prevention measures globally, Li said: “Compared to North Korea’s system which manage to have zero case of COVID-19, China’s system does fall short a little bit.”
“So, we have 4,000 deaths. But compared to the 220,000 deaths in U.S, 4,000 deaths equal to no deaths at all, right?” He said.
He continued, “This is almost equal to zero infection and zero death. With a 1.4 billion population, 4,000 deaths mean no one gets sick at all.”
He also mentioned that the systems implemented in Europe and America are suitable for innovation and technologies, but fall short in tackling the pandemic.
“Containing the pandemic does not require any science and technology, but a strong government to implement quarantine measures,” the scholar remarked.
According to Taiwanese media CNA, Li claimed to be a sociology researcher with the Renmin University of China, but later had his status denied by the University.
South China Morning Post reported that he was expelled from Taiwan in April last year for trying to promote the nation’s unification with China, which was a violation of his tourist permit and “could endanger national security and cause public unrest”.
Taiwan’s immigration agency has listed him “as persona non grata and he is restricted from visiting Taiwan in the future.”
As of Wednesday (25 November), the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China has confirmed 4,634 deaths and 86,490 cases.
On the US side, the John Hopkins University and Medicine recorded more than 260,000 deaths and over 12 million cases.