Thanks to China analyst David Cowhig for the following:
These are good articles on avian flu from Caijing magazine from mid October and early November issues (the original Chinese versions are available here and here). The bottom line is the H5N1 has been circulating in China for at least a decade but was not reported because information on epidemics of virulent avian influenza were state secrets in China until 2003. Even today only one laboratory in all of China has permission to do studies of avian influenza. Perhaps the existence of avian influenza may depend upon whether a laboratory is permitted to look for it. If they do not look for it, they do not find it and so official denials are true. Fortunately the times are changing. The author of the Caijing articles points out that China is becoming more open and China must not repeat the errors of SARS or there may be a great world avian flu disaster coming out of China.
This is a rough summary, not a full translation. The summary is not in exactly in the same order as the Chinese.
Avian flu, including H5N1 has occurred in 18 provinces over the past several years. HN51 was found in Guangdong Province in 1996, there was a big outbreak in Hong Kong in 1997. Chinese officials claimed that China did not have an avian flu problem, but the many articles published about avian flu in PRC veterinary journals are evidence to the contrary. Journal articles published about 2000 give the impression that avian flu was quite widespread in China at that time. January 27, 2004 was the first time the PRC Ministry of Agriculture admitted that China had H5N1. Later it stated that H5N1 had been detected in 18 provinces. Through 2003 Chinese
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