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Local Chinese Officials hide Virus Dangers, U.S. Officials Say

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For months, Trump administration officials have been blaming Beijing and the Chinese Communist Party for letting the coronavirus spread.
But a new U.S. intelligence report concludes that top officials in Beijing were in the dark in early January and that it was local officials in Wuhan and in Hubei Province who tried to hide information from central leadership.
The internal report, a consensus of the C.I.A. and other agencies, could lead to a shift in U.S. policy on China and how we talk about the virus’s timeline. 
It is also consistent with assessments by experts of China’s opaque governance system.
 Local officials often withhold information from Beijing for fear of reprisal, current and former American officials say.

 “It makes a huge difference if it was Wuhan or Beijing,” said Michael Pillsbury, a China scholar at the Hudson Institute who informally advises President Trump. 
It could give American officials a push to try to engage in good-faith negotiations with Beijing, he said.Related: The Trump administration suspended or terminated three agreements with Hong Kong covering extradition and tax exemptions.

Courtesy – New York Times

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