Part 1 of this series looked at the widespread complacency that was found in not just the Trump White House but with his esteemed medical advisor, the largely hostile MSM and various politicians in New York State and City. Today I will look at China’s role in the origin and spread of the virus. I had intended to cover Taiwan in this post but there is too much juicy material on China that I have decided to do a 4th post of the countries that have exhibited world’s best practice in response to Covid19 and Taiwan is right up there.
Nobody outside of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) propaganda office doubts that the Coronavirus or COVID19 originated in Wuhan, Hubai Province of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). While there is still debate in the West as to the precise beginning of the virus, it is clear this strain of the flu originated from bats. In the early stages of the pandemic, the CCP assured the world that the origin of the virus was a wet market in downtown Wuhan, so called because of the widespread sale of live animals killed on site at the time of sale thus creating blood, animal fluids and water for clean-up. A feature of Chinese wet markets is a bewildering array of exotic and even rare, endangered species that the Chinese have a penchant for eating such as various kinds of birds, mammals like the protected pangolin (a scaly large ant eater like animal) and of course various varieties of bats. The problem of incubated viruses in bats and other animals had been quite well studied because they were the source of the previous outbreaks of infectious diseases tracked to origins in China such as SARS, MERS and the swine flu (H1N1). These previous outbreaks established that the Chinese have prior form with animal borne viruses that jump to humans causing flu outbreaks that are hard to control and begin with no known cure or vaccine.
Let us now dive a little deeper into other clues as to the true source of the virus. Two seminal pieces on the origins of the virus were published by Jim Geraghty of National Review: first in an article entitled “The Comprehensive Timeline of China’s Covid-19 Lies” published on 23 March 2020 and then “The Trail Leading Back to the Wuhan Labs” published on 3 April. I will be summarizing Jim’s timeline as the material is so important and consequential to this issue as to warrant it being retold in some detail – I just wanted to be clear on attribution. Some of the material also sources from the research of former China based documentary filmmaker Matthew Tye who published his research in a You Tube short documentary entitled “I Found the Source of the Coronavirus” on 1 April 2020.
TIMELINE OF CRUCIAL EVENTS
This timeline begins at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), a Level 4 research lab. Level 4 is the highest designation of any research lab and they deal in the most highly infectious and dangerous diseases requiring the strictest of staff PPE protocols and on site security of stored material. The story begins with Dr. Shi Zhengli, lead researcher at the WIV who is famous for her bat studies so much that she was nicknamed Batwoman. 2 years ago she had published two articles demonstrating how bats can transmit coronaviruses to humans. She tested over 200 local villagers in southern China and found high susceptibility for humans to become infected from local bats.
19th November 2019
WIV posts a job opening seeking scientists to research the relationship between the coronavirus and bats to work with Dr Zhengli.
Date of so called patient zero or the first identified patient in Wuhan with a corona type virus according to a study in the esteemed British medical journal Lancet and 5 days later his wife was admitted to intensive care in hospital – she had never had any contact with the Seafood Market.
Wuhan doctors notice a cluster of pneumonia like infected patients and eight Wuhan doctors publish their findings that were posted on the Chinese CDC’s website.
A new job posting at the WIV is phrased in such a way that states in essence ‘we’ve discovered a new and terrible virus and we need to hire people to come and help deal with it’ as the Lab appears to have made a discovery of human transmissibility of this new virus
Huang Yan Ling was the original researcher and early contractor of the virus and all her biographical material and photos were removed from the WIV website. No one has seen her despite government assurances that she is alive and well with no proof. There has been a massive search for her on the Chinese internet with most articles getting quickly scrubbed by Chinese government censors.
25th December (not a public holiday in China)
Local Wuhan doctor Zhong Nashan gives notice of the outbreak to local schools after observing mushrooming infections amongst medical staff.
A local ophthalmologist (eye doctor) Dr Li Wenliang sends an alert via a medical intranet to local doctors about the spread of a SARS like pneumonia respiratory infection.
1 – The provincial government health agency, the Wuhan Municipal Health Department (WMHD), declares in one of its regular public health briefings that there is no human to human transmission of the virus despite evidence to the contrary. Please note that all links to the WMHD’s website for all of its briefings and virus related material that were published by Jim Geraghty and others are now broken.
2 – China officially informs the World Health Organisation (WHO) of an unknown new pneumonia disease infecting 44 patients in Wuhan.
3 – Dr Tao Lina, a public-health expert and former official with Shanghai’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, tells the South China Morning Post, “I think we are [now] quite capable of killing it in the beginning phase” and she repeats the party line that the Wuhan seafood market is the source of the virus.
1st January 2020
1 – Dr Wenliang is summoned to the local police HQ and accused of spreading rumours and 2 days later, he signs a ‘confession’ of his misdemeanor. Seven other people are arrested on similar charges over dissemination of virus related information and likely are dealt with the same as Dr Wenliang.
2 – The WMHD requests the WIV and all local hospitals DESTROY all their samples of the genome sequence of the virus
3 – The New York Times (NYT) uses cell phone tracking data to estimate that 120,000 leave Wuhan that day and note that there are 21 international destinations where there are non-stop flights from Wuhan.
1 – Another Lancet study confirms spread of the virus by people not associated with any Wuhan markets
2 – WIV announce they have also mapped the genome of the virus, but the Chinese government keeps that news under wraps for a whole week.
The Chinese government’s coverup of the virus begins with 2 crucial actions:
1 – China’s National Health Commission, the nation’s top health authority, ordered institutions not to publish any information related to the unknown disease, and ordered labs to transfer any samples they had to designated testing institutions, or to destroy them (see the Straits Times link above)
2 – Of even more significance in terms of what would later be promulgated to the world, the WMHD released another statement, repeating, “As of now, preliminary investigations have shown no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission and no medical staff infections.”
3 – ONE WHOLE MONTH after the first outbreaks in Wuhan, Robert Redfield, Director of the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) is first informed of the outbreak via Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar
Hospital emergency departments in Wuhan are being inundated and by January 10th, the respiratory wards are full of patients all suffering from the same virus. Staff are not issued protective equipment until 17th January and on 20th January, a local reporter publishes his findings and alerts local schools and yet simultaneously the WMHD advise updated numbers but repeat the lie, “preliminary investigations have shown no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission and no medical staff infections”. The lie was duly reported the next day by Dr Wang Lingfa, an emerging infectious diseases expert at Duke Global Health Institute and reported on in the New York Times‘ first article on the virus. Even then, Dr Lingfa was expressing frustration at the lack of real information and the fact that his Chinese colleagues in Wuhan were being silenced.
CDC advises of Alert Level 1 (lowest of 3) and offers to send a team to China to help. The Chinese government DECLINE THE OFFER thus enabling them to continue to lie and dissemble about the true nature of the virus, its infectiousness and how lethal it can be.
1 – Chinese authorities begin to publicly acknowledge the existence of the virus but peddle the agreed upon party line, “there is no evidence that the new virus is readily spread by humans, which would make it particularly dangerous, and it has not been tied to any deaths” and yet by now dozens had died.
2 – In probably one of the most consequential acts of contributory negligence in this entire affair, the WHO issues a statement effectively parroting the CCP’s line of no community spread with this announcement, “Preliminary identification of a novel virus in a short period of time is a notable achievement and demonstrates China’s increased capacity to manage new outbreaks . . . “. The WHO makes no mention of the infectiousness, the rapid spread, the deaths and does little more than kiss up to China by praising its efforts. No travel bans were suggested indeed the WHO specifically counsel AGAINST any such bans all the while and tens of thousands of asymptomatic residents of Wuhan pour out of the city across China and to the 21 international destinations that are linked by non-stop flights from Wuhan!
1 – Dr Wenliang contracts the virus after unwittingly treating a patient who was infected and 2 days later, he was admitted to intensive care. At the same time that Chinese doctors are finding and reporting increasing cases, the NYT duly reports the WMHD line of no human to human transmission and repeat the lies about the virus stemming from the wet market even as the crisis mounts inside Wuhan’s hospitals as the first death is officially announced. The WMHD report the same drivel the next day claiming there had been no new cases since January 3.
2 – The political leaders of the Wuhan Province begin four days of meetings and the virus is never mentioned once.
Thai authorities report the first foreign case of the virus in a 61 year old women who had flown from Wuhan to Bangkok and fell ill on January 5th. The pervasiveness of official Chinese pronouncements is evident in the Thai doctors who maintain that the virus was caught at a wet market.
Six weeks after knowing that someone NOT associated with wet markets became infected, the WMHD again state falsely, “Among the close contacts, no related cases were found.” The WHO now make its obsequiousness even more public by tweeting “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in Wuhan, China.” The WHO are either complicit in the cover up or they incompetently turned a blind eye, made no deeper enquiries and blindly believed everything the Chinese told them about the virus.
The Japanese Health Ministry announce the first Japanese case and crucially, publicly state the patient had no contact with wet markets. This forces the WMHD to slightly modify its latest statement still denying human to human spread but not absolutely ruling it out and classifying the risk of spread as low. “Existing survey results show that clear human-to-human evidence has not been found, and the possibility of limited human-to-human transmission cannot be ruled out, but the risk of continued human-to-human transmission is low.” The very next day they backtrack, likely under pressure from Beijing and say, “Among the close contacts, no related cases were found.”
The CDC announces medical checks on any passengers originating from Wuhan arriving at San Francisco, LAX and JFK (New York) airports. The WMHD daily announcement of numbers still denies community spreading.
President Trump is first advised of the virus. Wuhan City authorities allow a huge city-wide Lunar New Year banquet of some 40,000 residents to go ahead with no announcement of the virus or encouragements of contact caution despite the local doctors knowing how infectious the virus is.
1 – The Chinese National Health Commission declares the virus is “still preventable and controllable.”
2 – The WHO updates its statement, declaring, “Not enough is known to draw definitive conclusions about how it is transmitted, the clinical features of the disease, the extent to which it has spread, or its source, which remains unknown”, completely and utterly contradicting the evidence on the ground.
The WMHD maintains its fiction of no community transmission outside of those infected at markets for the last time as the first case outside of Wuhan but still in China is announced in Guangdong province. Local Wuhan media finally mention the virus almost TWO MONTHS after the first case of human to human infection of people not associated with either the labs or markets is known about.
The CDC announces the first US case in Snohomish County in WA. By now over 1 million people have left Wuhan for traditional Chinese New Year celebrations across China and the world.
WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus parrots the CCP’s lies and continued to praise China’s handling of the outbreak. “I was very impressed by the detail and depth of China’s presentation. I also appreciate the cooperation of China’s Minister of Health, who I have spoken with directly during the last few days and weeks. His leadership and the intervention of President Xi and Premier Li have been invaluable, and all the measures they have taken to respond to the outbreak.”
1 – Wuhan authorities finally begin the first stages of an eventually strict lockdown many weeks after willingly allowing millions of potentially infected residents to travel all around China and the world and weeks after knowing that the virus was spreading communally and spreading fast and with a mortality rate approaching that of SARS.
2 – Vietnam and Singapore announce cases and the next day, 5 new cases in the US are announced.
Dr Wenliang tests positive for coronavirus.
Local Wuhan research scientist Professor Xiao Botao knew researchers at the WIV who were infected and all staff at the lab who came down with the virus and he suspected that it came from bats and stated the source of the virus was the lab about 300 yards from the Wuhan Seafood Market and said it was not a natural infection. He gave a detailed timeline AND (significantly) said that researchers were splashed with urine and blood samples known to be from coronavirus infected bats. (see Matthew Tye YT link)
Dr Wenliang succumbs to the virus and dies. As one of the first to try to announce to the world the dangers of coronavirus, he dies an unsung hero, silenced by a secretive and repressive regime.
The WIV denies that Huang Yanling was patient zero addressing “fake information” as to her whereabouts and yet she has disappeared from public view.
Zhen Shuji, a Hong Kong correspondent from the French public-radio service Radio France Internationale, reported: “when a reporter from the Beijing News of the Mainland asked the institute [WIV] for rumors about patient zero, the institute first denied that there was a researcher Huang Yanling, but after learning that the name of the person on the Internet did exist, acknowledged that the person had worked at the firm but has now left the office and is unaccounted for.” Also, French media reports backing up Prof. Batao’s claim of the bat urine and blood being splashed around the lab.
Later in February
Prof. Botao posted a research paper onto ResearchGate.net, “The Possible Origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus.” He is listed as one author, along with Lei Xiao from Tian You Hospital, who is affiliated with the Wuhan University of Science and Technology. Dr Xiao confirmed that the type of bat being researched was not native to Wuhan coming from a region some 900 kms to the south. In his study he said “they were only 280 meters from the seafood market. The WMHD is also adjacent to the Union Hospital where the first group of doctors were infected during this epidemic. It is plausible that the virus leaked around and some of them contaminated the initial patients in this epidemic”. The money quote, “In summary, somebody was entangled with the evolution of 2019-nCoV coronavirus. In addition to origins of natural recombination and intermediate host, the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan”. The paper was removed a short time after it was posted, but archived images of its pages can be found here and here.
South China Post reports “according to the government data seen by the Post, a 55 year-old from Hubei province could have been the first person to have contracted Covid-19 on November 17.”
“Bat urine and blood can carry viruses. How likely is it that bat urine or blood got onto a researcher at either Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention or the Wuhan Institute of Virology? Alternatively, what are the odds that some sort of medical waste or other material from the bats was not properly disposed of, and that was the initial transmission vector to a human being? … But it is a remarkable coincidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was researching Ebola and SARS-associated coronaviruses in bats before the pandemic outbreak, and that in the month when Wuhan doctors were treating the first patients of COVID-19, the institute announced in a hiring notice that “a large number of new bat and rodent new viruses have been discovered and identified.” And the fact that the Chinese government spent six weeks insisting that COVID-19 could not be spread from person to person means that its denials about Wuhan laboratories cannot be accepted without independent verification.”
CHINA’S BEHAVIOUR DURING/SINCE THIS TIMELINE
1 – China’s attempt at global propaganda concerning its role to do with the virus
China’s attempts to avoid blame and deflect attention to other countries has been widespread, global and systemic. Anyone who has any knowledge of Chinese culture or has done business in China (I traveled twice to China in 2011 and 2012 seeking funding for some energy projects and met with a number of high level business people some with the highest, Politburo level of political connections in Shanghai and Beijing) will tell you that saving or preserving face is paramount in Chinese culture. When this is married to a Chinese supreme sense of self-importance, the built in assumption of the superiority of its culture, political system and way of approaching the world, it is easy to see why China is doing everything in its power to deny responsibility for originating or spreading Covid19.
The CCP has instructed all ambassadors and expat Chinese Nationals of reasonable influence in any country to officially deny any culpability in originating or spreading the virus and to concentrate on trying to propagate the line that China heroically defeated the virus internally due to swift and bold action and that if anyone is to blame, it is the nefarious US military who allowed operatives in China to release the virus it incubated in US military virology labs. This line was most noticeably peddled on Twitter by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhioa Lijian. Chinese government representatives have been extremely aggressive and forthright in media across the world trying to defend China’s conduct in an orchestrated global campaign of misinformation designed to deflect blame.
2 – Publishing highly suspect statistics
As the numbers of infected people and deaths began to mushroom first in Europe then the US hotspot like New York, the official numbers coming out of China seemed to back the CCP’s contention that they had brought the virus under control. But as time went on, the official numbers of infections and deaths from the world’s most populous country began to look increasingly suspect and only those intent on believing as gospel truth anything said by the CCP actually believe these figures to be real. Skepticism concerning China’s true figures is not the preserve of the paranoid anti-Chinese few but has become a mainstream belief amongst well regarded and less partisan figures in Washington.
Over time, anecdotal evidence began to emerge as to the likely true numbers. It was reported that the crematoriums in Wuhan were working full time day and night for over three weeks. Since the Chinese National Health Authority ruled that all coronavirus deceased must be cremated from 1 February, a crematorium worker claimed that the 49 crematoriums in Wuhan had been burning bodies 24/7 for 17 days and at 100 bodies per day that could mean 50,000 or more dead even factoring out deaths due to other causes. When the work of cremation was over, Wuhan authorities ordered families to come to the funeral homes to collect their loved ones ashes over multiple days. Some funeral homes reported 3,500 urns stacked up in a process of collection that took many hours. Add up this number of urns across multiple funeral homes and you have yet another data point that indicates the real death toll is likely more than ten times the official death toll
Various sources confirmed a CCP order for 1 million body bags, another pointer to a substantially higher national death toll than the official number of 4,634.
All this anecdotal reporting points to a more likely death toll in just Wuhan in the many tens of thousands rather than the official death toll of around 3,000. This was revised upwards on May 7 to 4,512 for the whole of Hubei Province of which Wuhan is the capital. This revision highlights how bogus the reporting of Covid deaths out of China has become. If the reported figures of total Chinese deaths nationwide of 4,637 is correct, that means that only 125 fatalities occurred amongst the remaining 1.38 billion people in the rest of China outside Hubei Province!
3 – Banning/disappearing of people
The CCP have continued and accelerated their long standing practice of harassing, banning, arresting, and incarcerating anyone who speaks out against the regime. Party functionaries had to move into overdrive to handle all the various medical staff and citizen journalists who began to speak out about the coronavirus and these activists have all suffered various forms of repression at the hands of Chinese authorities.
Three Chinese internet activists have disappeared and are believed to have been detained by police. They have reportedly been charged with preserving articles that were removed by China’s online censors.
Beijing police formally arrested retired professor Chen Zhaozhi for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” in a speech about the pandemic. The former Beijing University of Science and Technology professor had posted comments online, including that “Wuhan pneumonia is not a Chinese virus but Chinese Communist Party virus”.
Frances Eve, deputy director of research at the Hong Kong-based watchdog group, Chinese Human Rights Defenders, said of the arrested dissidents, “Everyone who has disappeared is at very high risk of torture – most likely to try to force them to confess that their activities were criminal or harmful to society. Then, as we’ve seen in previous cases, people who have been disappeared will be brought out and forced to confess on Chinese state television”.
Chen Qiushi, a citizen journalist who reported from Wuhan, has also been missing since February. “I’m scared, I have the virus in front of me and behind me China’s law enforcement”, Chen said in a video dated January 30. “But I will keep my spirits up, as long as I’m alive and in this city I will continue my reports. I’m not afraid of dying. Why should I be afraid of you, Communist Party?”
For a fuller list, I refer you to this article published by the Gatestone Institute, “Coronavirus: China’s Disappeared Heroes and the Silence of the West”
4 – China’s global acquisition of PPE then selling it back to desperate countries
One of the most perverse and devious actions of the many undertaken by the CCP was the instructions given to many thousands of Chinese owned companies and well-heeled expat Chinese citizens located in 1st world countries to troll local websites and medical equipment companies ordering as much in the way of masks, gloves, hazmat suits, hand sanitizer, ventilators and emergency equipment as possible and to have them all shipped back to China. It is estimated that China stockpiled almost 2 BILLION (yes that’s with a B) surgical masks.
China of course kept its massive stockpile a secret and managed to elicit sympathy in the early days of the pandemic from Sinophile countries who, in a fit of misguided altruism, sent supplies of emergency equipment to China only to have the Chinese sell back some of the same equipment to the very countries like Canada, Spain and Italy who had so generously donated to China in the early days of the virus’ spread. It’s hard to find a modern equivalent of such venal and duplicitous conduct.
To add further insult to injury, even Chinese medical supplies paid for by desperate European countries swamped by exploding virus numbers, a number of countries received such poor quality or faulty equipment that they had to send the equipment back as unusable. France, Spain and the Netherlands were the worst affected by this, but several other countries were similarly affected.
5 – China’s subversion of the WHO
Some of this was covered in the timeline earlier with the most obsequious actions previously linked to. It is instructive to understand the full scope of the WHO’s subservience to China’s interests when one examines the history of the current WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Having been a senior Minister in the Ethiopian government, Tedros (as he known) not only aggressively pushed for Chinese Belt and Road infrastructure projects in his country such as the modernisation of Addis Abba’s airport and the expansion of Ethiopian airlines into Africa’s fourth largest airline, Tedros was happy to turn a blind eye to any Chinese cover up of a botched response to a health emergency because, as Minister of Health in Ethiopia, he had presided over a cover up of a cholera outbreak that resulted in a catastrophic local epidemic that needlessly took thousands of lives.
China’s subversion of the WHO is doubly dangerous as it has used its influence to keep Taiwan not only out of the WHO but unable to attend vital meetings as an observer. Furthermore, early warnings from Taiwan’s excellent epidemiologists about the emergence of a new potentially virulent pneumonia type virus, sent to the WHO as early as December, were dutifully ignored. The extent to which China has corrupted the WHO in its favour and against Taiwan is perfectly demonstrated in this interview between a Hong Kong journalist and WHO Senior Advisor (and former Assistant Director General) Canadian Bruce Aylward specifically about the virus and the differing Chinese and Taiwanese responses. China is lauded and praised and when Taiwan’s crucial attempted contribution is raised, Aylward first ignores the question and again praises China and then when pressed on Taiwan, simply hangs up!
The WHO’s complicity in Chinese misinformation and coverup over Covid19 led the Trump Administration to put a freeze on the $800 million funding the US gives annually to the WHO pending an investigation as to the extent of Chinese influence on its inaccurate disseminations and delays in announcing a formal global pandemic. On May 18, Trump articulated the case of his Administration and its decision to suspend the funding with a devastating breakdown of the WHO’s negligence putting it on 30 days’ notice to prove that it has made changes that negate Chinese’s out sized influence (it only contributed $80 million last year) or the suspension will be permanent and the US may exit the WHO altogether.
6 – Aggressive tactics against perceived adversaries in the West
As part and parcel of China’s attempts at intimidation of foreign countries who are calling them out for its disastrous handling of the virus, China uses every bullying tactic in its tool chest. For those countries up to their neck in Belt and Road infrastructure debt to China, China uses debt default as a weapon of eventual control of key assets by requiring Chinese majority ownership of local companies or agencies controlling and running the projects built exclusively with Chinese labour and by Chinese companies. The threat of seizure of ports, pipelines, motorways, and airports is a tactic China uses to buy the silence of the mostly 3rd world countries that have gotten into bed with Belt and Road. China has made Belt and Road inroads into even first world countries such as Italy.
In the case of the US, China has ramped up aggressive rhetoric and has gone so far as to threaten travel bans and sanctions on key US legislators who have been the most vocal critics of China in general and have called specifically for investigations into China’s negligence over the coronavirus, sponsored proposed legislation rescinding China’s sovereign immunity from lawsuits, supported any legislative repatriation of critical US companies medical equipment and pharmaceutical production to the US and increased trade sanctions such as the microchip ban on Huawei and other large Chinese electronics and telecommunication companies.
These threats were issued via Chinese government spokespeople in the Global Times, an official CCP organ, “Republicans who have been groundlessly accusing China and inflaming the ‘holding China accountable’ political farce will face severe consequences, sources said, noting that the aftermath will also impact the upcoming November elections, while business and trade between Missouri and China will be further soured”. US Senators Tom Cotton (R – AR), Josh Hawley (R – IA), Marsha Blackburn (R – TN), Martha McSally (R – AZ) and Rick Scott (R – FL) and US House Representatives Dan Crenshaw (R – TX 2nd), Chris Smith (R – NJ 4th ) and Lance Goodan (R – TX 5th), New Jersey State Senator Jim Holzapfel, NJ House Reps Greg McGuckin and John Catalano (both Republicans) and Missouri’s Republican State Attorney General Eric Schmitt (who filed a lawsuit on behalf of the state of Missouri for damages related to Covod19), have all been specifically threatened by China.
Closer to home, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s call for a global inquiry into the origins of the virus has been met with swift and stern Chinese rebukes backed more recently with threats to ban exports of meat from certain key Australian abattoirs as well as embargoes and tariffs on Australian barley. China assumes that the threat of a full scale trade war with Australia may intimidate other western nations from supporting such calls. This tactic seems to have backfired with 62 other nations including the UK, Japan, India and Russia also calling for an investigation. This Guardian article explores a number of China’s global attempts at influencing foreign nations to shield China from blame for the spread of the virus
With China being New Zealand’s No. 1 trading partner and so much of our GDP dependent on the smooth flow of trade with a giant country like China, it is much easier to not look askance at China’s human rights abuses, its intellectual property theft, its mercantilist trade policies, its increasing regional military aggression, its use of AI to monitor its people and manipulate behaviour via its social credit system but over time, China’s views on the world, on trade, its aggressive expansion into smaller weaker nations via Belt and Road, it is easy for the Fonterras and the Carter Holt Harveys of this world to look the other way and continue to ship milk powder and logs to China. But China has, by its secretive, punishment-driven, repressive society made it extremely difficult to be open with the world (or even internally) about the spread of virulent diseases that source from its weird predilection for exotic animals and by its less than world’s best practice security at labs handling toxic biological agents and when these forces in their culture combine in a perfect storm to allow millions of infected citizens to seed this virus all over the globe, the utter lack of accountability of its communist system means its leaders will never pay the kind of steep domestic political price for this monumental cock up then cover up (because it is a cock up rather than an initial deliberate release of a biological weapon) that would befall any leader of a major first world democracy like Germany, Canada or the UK had the source of this pandemic began on their incompetent watch.
The economic devastation of this pandemic will be the subject of another post but in time, China will pay and pay dearly for its role in this catastrophe. Even with all the favours it can call on and financial manipulation it can and will pull all over the globe, its reputation as an honest fair partner who can be trusted is shattered. The US (and a number of other major western economies) will very quickly draw back to their home countries production of essential medical supplies and equipment and key pharmaceuticals. Over time, corporate America (and SOME but not as many) of their European and Anglophile counterparts, will begin to migrate their supply chains, some back to the home country but others to more friendly jurisdictions like India and less venal and globally threatening places like Vietnam and Indonesia. I don’t know what will happen at a deeper and more granular level in NZ (and other US allies) but the days of China’s almost free reign to corrupt university faculties, infiltrate research institutions, spy on military installations and rob intellectual property blind will be over in the US. The US will implement a post 9/11 revamp of all of its military, academic and industrial intelligence capabilities to shut China out. The sons and daughters of China’s elite will not get student visas with as much ease, the back door ways that China acquired US companies will be abruptly shut down, the Confucius Institutes on campuses will be gradually closed and Chinese academic exchanges will be rigorously scrutinised. When you multiply the supply chain readjustments across many large companies across the globe, add any punitive tariffs the US may now impose and the compulsory repatriation of medical/pharmaceutical production to the cascade of law suits from US States that will rain down on China, they are in for a world of hurt economically.
The Chinese middle class, faced with collapsing income, will not be able to buy as much NZ produce and sadly, the downturn in China will affect NZ far more than the US whose own domestic manufacturing base will be boosted by the changes that will come. Doing this right actually was not that hard. In early January, China could’ve told the WHO and CDC everything and invited the world’s best virologists and epidemiologists to examine the genome sequences and work with China inside China on a vaccine AND China could’ve closed its borders externally so the virus was isolated in Wuhan with strict protocols enacted to keep it there until a vaccine was found. That simple act of consideration and transparency would have saved the world hundreds of thousands of lives and the global economy trillions of dollars in lost activity. Mao’s communism via the forced starvation of the Great Leap Forward in the 1960’s cost upwards of 50 million Chinese lives. The impact of this global pandemic, because of Chinese communism’s hubris and arrogance, is simply incalculable. When media the world over want to exhibit another bout of Trump Derangement Syndrome and somehow blame Trump for America’s misery, this timeline is a reminder as to what REALLY happened.