The Needle Points at China
The Virus from Wuhan has shaken mankind. While everyone was probably expecting a life changing alien contact as depicted often by Hollywood, a viral protein from Wuhan has left us flatfooted. Its origins are being obscured deliberately by China. However, one thing for sure. The Virus announced itself in Wuhan, China not in Mars! As a result the needle of suspicion points straight at China. A combatant China has pulled out all stops to deny or deflect the blame away from it. China gets offended when ‘China’ or ‘Wuhan’ are prefixed to the Virus.
It is digging deep to position itself as the leader in the fight against the Virus with a theme that all of us should thank it for buying time. It is tom-tomming the role of the superior communist response vis a vis the ineffectiveness of democratic models in saving lives. Can China shake off the accusations being hurled at it and continue hurtling at breakneck speed towards Superpowerdom? I doubt. There must be a rethink. So let us rethink through the events as they unfolded. The relevant events as culled from various sources are tabulated below.
Sequence of Events
|2002-3||SARS Epidemic in China||Established that using wild animals for food may promote the spread of the virus to people. China continued permitting markets and restaurants to provide food from wild animals.|
|Early November 2019||Patients in Wuhan detected with an unidentified pneumonia-like illness||Local health officials did not report these cases to the Central Center for Disease Control. China did not try to isolate the pathogen from the biological samples of these patients and identify its nature|
|08 Dec 2019||First confirmed case||The first cases of an unknown pneumonia, which turned out to be a symptom of the new coronavirus, were reported.|
|late December 2019||Alarming similarities between this new and the 2002 SARS virus reported by the Sunday Times of London citing Chinese business news site Caixin Global.|
|31 Dec 2019||27 confirmed cases||Wuhan health authorities acknowledge the existence of cases of viral pneumonia with unknown cause – and a possible connection to the seafood market. Official online statement of Wuhan Health Commission denies human-to-human transmission or infection among health workers. The World Health Organization is informed to characterize the infection as mild, treatable, and under control.|
|01 Jan 2020||Wuhan seafood market closed. Also suspected to be the source of the mystery disease, as some of the patients presenting with the pneumonia-like illness were dealers or vendors at the market|
|03 Jan 2020||Widely reported that a gag order was given from China's National Health Commission, to authorities in Wuhan with instructions to destroy the samples.|
|07 Jan 2020||CCP Politburo meeting held. Xi Jinping asks for resolute curbs on epidemic. Peoples war on epidemic indicated as per reports.|
|08 Jan 2020||Officials intentionally withheld information that hospital workers had been infected by patients.|
|09 Jan 2020||1st Corona related death||China reports first death due to the new coronavirus, 2019-nCoV.|
|13 Jan 2020||First case outside China surfaces in Thailand|
|14 Jan 2020||WHO tweets to say that preliminary investigations by China indicates lack of human to human transmission. Endorses Chinese stand.|
|18 Jan 2020||136 new cases||Wuhan hosts a holiday banquet for 40,000 attendees, despite reports of the Contagious Viral Pneumonia.At least 10 cases of Coronavirus infection reported from participants of the feast. Xi Jinping reaffirms orders of 'resolute effort' to curb virus.|
|20 Jan 2020||Approx. 291 cases||Dr. Zhong Nanshan, a Chinese health official, says virus can be transmitted human to human. Admits 14 medical staff infected.|
|21 Jan 2020||WHO confirms human to human transmission of Virus.|
|22 Jan 2020||WHO emergency committee defers its decision on whether to advise WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to declare 2019-nCoV outbreak a public health emergency of international concern|
|23Jan 2020||619 cases||Quarantine of Wuhan goes into effect at 10 a.m.|
|25 Jan 2020||1370 cases||Internal travel banned in China between Wuhan, Huanggang, Ezhou, Chibi, Qianjiang, Zhijiang, Jingmen, Xiantao, Xiaogan and Huangshi in Hubei province.Travel in other parts of the country curtailed. Long-distance bus services entering and leaving Beijing, suspended on 26 Jan.|
|30 Jan 2020||WHO declares global emergency cases in all 31 provinces of China|
|01 Feb 2020||Chinese cases top 11988Cases appear all over the world||Chinese Foreign Minister Wang criticizes certain countries for having have turned a blind eye to WHO recommendations and imposed sweeping travel restrictions against China. Says that this kind of 'overreaction' could only make things even worse and that it's not the right way to deal with the pandemic.|
|11 Mar 2020||WHO declares pandemic|
|30 Mar 2020||Infected Cases- 735,210 Deaths – 34808||Appear all over the world.|
The Dirty Dozen
A critical analysis indicates that there are many unexplained questions in this entire sequence of events. The dirty dozen questions which need answers are:
- After the 2002-3 SARS experience why did China allow the Wuhan Market to continue selling wild animals for food in the first place?
- Why was the pathogen not isolated and reported in November 2019?
- Why were the Chinese repeatedly denying human to human transmission when evidence and local knowledge indicated its occurrence?
- Why did they not come clean on the actual situation early in January instead of gagging and withholding information?
- Why did they hold a feast for 40000 people; including some of them who were infected, when there was an epidemic raging?
- Why was it not declared as a pandemic by WHO when human to human transmission was confirmed and cases started appearing outside China in enough numbers?
- Why were people allowed to go out of Wuhan when there were restrictions imposed for internal movement? Was this deliberate?
- Why did China term travel restrictions by others as ‘overreaction’ when it itself had laid internal restriction?
- Why did President Xi Jinping disappear from public view after 28 Jan 2020?
- Why has China not included WHO officials in the fact-finding mission after the situation was brought under control?
- What is the role of WHO in all this? It is shady to say the least. They are clearly complicit in the entire episode along with the Chinese.
- Why have other parts of China not been affected as seriously as Wuhan when the rest of the world is affected in an even worse manner? Was it engineered so?
These questions are being raised internationally. Presently the rest of the world is busy fighting the Chinese Virus and saving lives. However sooner or later people will seek focused answers for the questions being raised in a chorus.
The Core Issue Would Be - What is China Guilty of?
That depends on what are the possible scenarios which could have played out. These are outlined in the succeeding paragraphs.
Bumbling Ignorance. The outbreak could have played out as it did due to sheer bumbling overconfidence, ignorance, incompetence, negligence, fault lines of the Communist Society, inability to react, lack of knowledge and a healthy disrespect for international rules. In short - Sheer stupidity.
Loss of Control and Evading Reality.
The outbreak might have exploded to this magnitude due to a combination of loss of control and refusing to acknowledge the reality from the start. While it could be due to various factors, poor leadership at all levels is obvious. When the situation became serious the cover up attempts to ‘Save Face’ was ham-handed. However the situation grew beyond that and only survival mattered and little else.
Exploiting the Situation
The situation in Wuhan could have developed accidentally due to either of the scenarios outlined above. However since it happened, why not deliberately export it to others? ‘Exploiting the situation’ theory fits in well with the reality that internal movement was banned in China when external bans were being contested and resisted. Also, Beijing and other major cities being unscathed to the extent of Wuhan gives credibility to this line of thought.
It is well possible that China was undertaking Bio warfare research which went awry. Wuhan Wild Animal Market was only a fall guy option. The resulting outbreak could be then tailed into any of the above scenarios. Of course there is also a possibility that this was a deliberate attempt by the Chinese to wage a covert Biological war on the rest of the world to achieve economic and moral superiority in the convoluted communist way of thinking. However it might have gone wrong and beyond their imagination and control.
China – Not a Global Leader
While all these are possible scenarios, the fact is that one of them or a variant is true. If that be so – China is clearly guilty of either by an act of commission or omission. Today it is involved in another cover-up to turn the situation. If this be so can we accept China as a world leader? Obviously not. Where does that leave China? Nowhere. Even if the reality is stonewalled by China. In any case even if something is proven, they will never accept it. They showed utter disregard for the ruling of the International Court of Justice against them in the South China Sea. Hence to imagine that they will be brought to book is a figment of imagination.
Cheap, Unreliable and Untrustworthy
Will China get away with this? Before answering this let us consider a few other issues. China is now promoting itself as being in the forefront of fighting the Virus. It is offering its help to everyone. Those who have taken it may already be regretting it. Reports are emerging that nations are cancelling huge orders of Chinese medical equipment to include masks, testing Kits and other stuff which have been found to be defective. So the ‘cheap’ and ‘unreliable’ China story gets reinforced. Meanwhile the situation in Pakistan, is worsening alarmingly. Logically China should be helping its all-weather ally.
However Chinese aid to Pakistan to combat the pandemic has not been mentioned even once in the past two weeks by Dawn, which I read daily. So China is proving to be an ‘untrustworthy’ partner as well. All one hears these days is that Chinese production has resumed. So they are ready with their shops to sell their cheap unreliable and probably infected stuff. The Chinese must realize that they have impoverished their clients. They killed their goose which lays golden eggs.
The Corona King
Finally. The more China tries to obfuscate and shift the blame away from it the more it will stick and be shamed by the people of the world. Already images are appearing aplenty on social media. Some of them are reproduced in this article. They squarely point the finger unerringly towards China. The stigma will stay. It will not go away. It will increase. Ideas and imagination are like the Virus. Easy to occur, contagious and difficult to erase. There is no doubt that the Wuhan Virus has Coronated China. The king is dead! Long live China - the Corona King.