Chinese bet on blockchain to counter vaccine scandal cover-up

The spiraling scandal over faulty vaccines from a major drug maker in China spooked the country over the weekend. While a viral investigative post can no longer be found, some are trying to guarantee its availability by leveraging blockchain technology.

A shocking scandal surrounding Shenzhen-listed drug maker Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology broke at the end of last week. The Jilin-based company was found to have violated standards in making rabies vaccine for humans. What’s more, some 252,600 substandard DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus) vaccines manufactured by the company were sold to Shandong Province.

The incidents soon enraged the whole country, where it becomes one of the most watched topics on local social media like WeChat and Weibo. Among tons of articles on the topic, “King of Vaccines” written by a blogger under the pen name of “Beast”(兽爷 shouye),” went viral as one of the first to break the story. The article did a thorough investigation of the history of Chuangchun Changsheng and how the company developed to become one of China’s largest vaccine producer by selling defective products.

Unfortunately, the post disappeared just a few hours after its publication. Some internet users began reposting it in the hopes of keeping it in circulation. Even with the concerted efforts of Chinese users, the post didn’t last long on social media. Some users, to make sure it stays available, put it on the Etherum blockchain instead

Transaction records for the cryptoasset show that on July 22, an Ethereum address sent a value of 0.001 Ethereum to itself. The metadata to the transaction contained the text of the post. Since Ethereum transaction records are public, the post can be read by anyone.

This is not the first time for Chinese crypto-enthusiasts to leverage blockchain technology for the similar purpose.  Yue Xin, a student from Peking University, published an open letter describing being pressured by faculty after she called for a deeper investigation on a decades-long sexual harassment case, which caused the death of another student in 1998. Cryptocurrency enthusiasts put Yue’s letter on Ethereum after it was no longer available.