The Covid-19 pandemic has locked down the western world, this strand of the coronavirus was born in China, the Chinese Government’s lack of transparency about the origins of the virus has been called one of the worst cover-ups in human history by Rep. Michael T. McCaul of the United States House Foreign Affairs Committee in the United States earlier this month.
The Chinese government actively suppressed knowledge of the outbreak and silenced anyone discussing it in its first phases. It’s important to note, that when I say silenced I refer to both compelled silencing through threats and/or blackmail as well as kidnapping and more sinister methods.
It’s equally important to note, that within this article I use both ‘the Chinese’ and ‘the CCP’ (Chinese Community Party) interchangeably to refer to the Chinese government, not the people of China, whom I believe suffer a great deal within the one-party state.
As more information has come to light, what’s become clear is the extent to which the CCP has actively suppressed real information regarding infection rates and death counts and the obvious mismanagement of the crisis.
It can often be unhelpful to discuss what could have been, however, had China actively managed this crisis in a transparent manner and prioritised containment and treatment earlier on, instead of its public image and/or potentially ominous motives. Then its likely tens of thousands of lives could have been saved, if not more.
Indeed, the outcome would most likely have been very different had China been far less authoritarian in its approach to this crisis. But, its not just the misinformation and lies related to the virus that have been exposed.
For many, its also what the Chinese government has been doing across the globe for over a decade. Richard Kemp at the Gatestone Institute wrote “…China has been fighting a cold war against the West for decades…”, and Covid-19 is now forcing the West to “wake up and fight back”.
What’s been exposed is China’s three-pronged strategy. Firstly, increasing its GDP and expanding its military. Secondly, enhancing its influence across the globe and thirdly, pushing back against the US and its allies. Furthermore, China’s massive propaganda program, which has been running for well over a decade, is finally being recognised as the duplicitous, deceitful and misleading program that it is.
For example, a Chinese state news anchor has recently been caught telling the Arab world that the virus (Covid-19) actually started in the US, specifically a US lab. These kinds of blatant attempts to obfuscate the truth and deflect blame away from the CCP through the planting of seeds of doubt are now far more obvious then they had been in the past. And, many in the West are beginning to realise this.
Even the hundreds of Chinese funded Confucius Institutes across the globe, primarily at Universities, are finally being recognised as organizations established to promote Chinese culture and Communist ideas within academic and broader circles. A CCP official has even admitted that these Institutes are important parts of the CCP’s propaganda machine.
But, despite all the evidence and the now transparent nature of what the CCP have been doing for quite some time, what isn’t entirely clear is why a pandemic was the reason why so many in the West now see China in a different light.
There are several theories as to why this might be the case. The first has to do with the way in which the Chinese government managed the crisis. The methods that were and are being used are considered extreme and even inhumane in some ways. And in acting in such a fashion, people across the globe witnessed acts and policy’s that put the country in a bad light and exposed the CCP’s true nature.
The second is the idea that perhaps the Chinese government is significantly responsible for the crisis that has unfolded. I’m not arguing that the virus was created as an attempt to destabilise China’s enemies via ‘soft warfare’, but the fact that the flights from Wuhan (the epicentre of the outbreak) to the rest of China were cancelled, but flights from Wuhan to the rest of the world were not, even though the government was aware of Covid-19 at the time suggest something disturbing. And a good question to ask, is simply why?
Questions of this nature often lead to even more questions instead of answers. Many across the globe now view China in a different way and are prepared to rethink their global trade relations.
The increased scrutiny that has been placed on China’s internal and foreign policy’s, the way they do business, and the way they handle a crisis has certainly revealed a nation quite different from the one the image they aim to project to the rest of the world.
The potential for Western countries and others to change the way they do business and interact with China is very likely given the hit so many have taken both in terms of lives and GDP. An important lesson has been learnt; one few will forget.