FPI / March 20, 2020
By Paul Crespo
Well before President Trump ever referred to the “Chinese Wuhan Virus,” or the new coronavirus spread across American cities, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was already “weaponizing wokeness” in the West over anything it perceived as critical of China’s role in mishandling the epidemic.
But is clear the CCP is diverting attention and blame because, not only did this new coronavirus originate in China, it also became a global pandemic specifically because of the repressive Chinese authoritarian regime’s obtuse incompetence and secrecy.
Trump is right to focus on China’s culpability.
According to a recent study from the University of Southampton, the global outbreak of the coronavirus could have been dramatically reduced had China’s communist government acted sooner. The first case of the virus was reportedly detected as early as mid-November of last year, but the CCP did not admit there was an outbreak, or human to human transmission until and quarantine Wuhan until Jan. 23.
That was seven weeks after the virus first appeared.
“As events in Italy, the United States, Spain, and France have shown, quite a lot can happen in a week, much less seven. By then, mayor Zhou Xianwang admitted that more than 5 million people had already left Wuhan,” writes Shadi Hamid in the Atlantic.
The research found “that if interventions in [China] could have been conducted one week, two weeks, or three weeks earlier, cases could have been reduced by 66 percent, 86 percent and 95 percent respectively – significantly limiting the geographical spread of the disease.”
Had the Communist Party leadership in China acted appropriately just three weeks earlier they could have almost eliminated the chance (95 percent) of this disease spreading globally and causing a pandemic. But they failed, miserably. And they failed due to the nature of their repressive regime.
As Hamid says, “The evidence of China’s deliberate cover-up of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan is a matter of public record. In suppressing information about the virus, doing little to contain it, and allowing it to spread unchecked in the crucial early days and weeks, the regime imperiled not only its own country and its own citizens but also the more than 100 nations now facing their own potentially devastating outbreaks.”
Hamid adds, “More perniciously, [rather than attack the virus spread or inform the world] the Chinese government censored and detained those brave doctors and whistleblowers who attempted to sound the alarm and warn their fellow citizens when they understood the gravity of what was to come.”
This pandemic is just the most recent and serious of examples of the Chinese government’s history of mishandling outbreaks, including SARS in 2002 and 2003. China has also been an incubator of sorts for rare diseases for decades. China’s role in these outbreaks needs to be highlighted and investigated, not ignored or obscured.
The U.S. demanding transparency and accountability from China is especially critical now, as Chinese officials attempt to launch a disinformation campaign claiming that the U.S. Army introduced the virus, trolling U.S. publications, expelling American journalists, and enlisting the World Health Organization (WHO) as a surrogate in their propaganda efforts.
The WHO is actively helping China to support their developing counter-narrative deflecting from their culpability — warning President Trump not to call it the “Chinese Virus” to avoid “racial profiling.” By naming the disease COVID-19, the WHO specifically avoided mentioning Wuhan to de-emphasize where the epidemic began (part of China’s information strategy for some time).
As Hamid notes, hearing the WHO and Chinese spokespeople using the language of racism and prejudice against the U.S. and the West is surreal, especially considering the CCP has put more than 1 million Muslims and ethnic minorities in “re-education” camps.
The fact is, we are not just in combat with a deadly virus, we are also in an information war with China. President Trump needs to keep attention on the Chinese government as the cause of this global pandemic. The Chinese Communist regime will be doing all it can to shift blame to the U.S. or elsewhere to protect its power, image and influence. The U.S. must do everything it can to ensure the truth is told.