Dec. 30: Dr. Li Wenliang reported the virus. He was punished for ‘illegal activity.’ Jan. 8: He caught the virus. Feb. 7: He died.
The precise origin point of a potential, worldwide virus? Who knows. The critical point is how and whether the virus is countered, once it is perceived. If the response to the first known instances of the virus is to fight the virus, then to assign blame is at best a distraction, at worst a moral failure. But if the response is intentionally not to fight the virus, but intentionally to suppress knowledge of it and intentionally to suppress medical response to it, then the subsequent spread of this virus is deliberate, blameworthy and evil.
That, in a nutshell, is the official Chinese tactic behind the dissemination of the coronavirus: deliberate, blameworthy, evil. When the Chinese doctors did what doctors are trained to do — when they acted professionally by reporting suspicions of a hitherto unseen virus — and in retribution for this professional behavior these Chinese doctors were coerced to sign documents saying that they did the wrong thing by reporting their suspicions, then the totalitarian Chinese overlords who coerced these lies intentionally aided and abetted in the dissemination of this virus.
There is a qualitative difference between not knowing how to respond to a new virus, not having all of the medical knowledge at hand in the face of a potential disaster, and between intentionally preventing the medical profession from doing its best to devise a response.
In China, with the first reports of the coronavirus, the totalitarian state actors intentionally prevented the medical profession from trying to do what it should do and what it wanted to do. The issue is not the Chinese medical progression. The issue is not the Chinese people. The issue is the Chinese government.
Totalitarian governments each have their own style of oppression. Stalin intentionally starved millions of Ukrainian peasants to death. Hitler launched a ruinous war against the USSR and in doing so decimated not only the Soviets but his own people; not to mention, he commanded a Holocaust. Totalitarian rulers in Cambodia, Rwanda, Myanmar and elsewhere chose their own means of destruction. What makes the Chinese totalitarian regime unique is that it demands political servitude in exchange for economic rewards, and is as good at the latter as it is at the former.
If ever there were a prudential case for caring about what a totalitarian regime does to its own people, China is it. Its political oppression affects us all.
First of all, the coronavirus affects countries beyond the borders of China. As of press time, 1,749 new infections were reported in a single week, and 136 new deaths, bringing the total number of infections worldwide to more than 74,000, the total numbers of deaths to more than 2,000, and the total number of confirmed cases outside China to 1,000. The number of countries to which the virus has spread has also grown, to include: Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines and France, plus on a cruise ship, besides the Diamond Princess, which holds 542 infected people.
Second of all, even if the coronavirus is contained before it affects the whole world, as we certainly hope it will be, the Chinese totalitarian rulers damage the economy of countries around the world by the harm they inflict on Chinese supply lines and by closing down Chinese business events, such as its largest annual auto show.
And inflict, the Chinese leaders must. They have inflicted massive harm by locking down a city of 11 million people, where the coronavirus originated, and who knows how many other huge areas in order to save itself from further infection and from the embarrassment of locking down still more Chinese locales and millions of people. Not to mention, many countries have canceled flights to and from China, and the US in a Level 4 travel advisory is now telling its citizens not to travel anywhere in China, and is advising Americans already in China to leave.
Even if the spread of the virus were to stop right now, we still have, as a direct result of China’s totalitarian obsession with state control and state image, tens of thousands of people in and out of China infected with this virus, and nearly 2,000 people dead in China and a few people outside of China — including one of the very Chinese doctors who, acting professionally, first reported the virus. The massive damage caused by this virus could have been avoided simply by treating it initially as the medical matter it is rather than as a public relations problem.
For reasons we find inexplicable, much of the free world, including progressive who howl over far less severe degrees of oppression in democratic countries, gives China a pass.
China suppresses freedom in Hong Kong and no one seems to care much, except in the face of an egregious act of cowardice, such as that of the National Basketball Association’s airbrushing of China’s totalitarianism.
China controls the intimate lives of its citizens at a price of criminal prosecution, and this seems to arouse no righteous outcry (compare the misplaced decibels raised against Israel for, at the worst reading, Israel’s alleged suppression of an almost immeasurably smaller number of Palestinian people).
China gallops ahead economically at the price of severe damage to the environment — immeasurably more severe than that done by the US or any other country — and yet environmentalists focus their anger on Western countries.
China provides goods to the world by paying wages that, in the US, would be condemned as cruel and unusual punishment, yet the world keeps scooping up these lower-priced goods in countless millions or billions of pieces.
China damages our economy by acting irresponsibly in the face of the coronavirus, but because it has, so far at least, felled very few people people outside China, China gets a pass. China is far away. China gives us goodies. China is China, yawn. This is morally and politically inexplicable.
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