On April 26, 1986, a nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded, starting a tremendous fire. Both the explosion and the fire resulted from structural damages caused by negligence during the construction of the plant which were known for more than a decade but never acted upon. Radioactive fallout spread over approximately 39,000 square miles, hitting Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, and various regions across Europe — only the Iberian Peninsula escaped the fallout completely. The first evidence of a major release of radioactive material came from Sweden. The Soviet Union covered up the disaster, which made it harder to contain.
Chernobyl took place as the Soviets were competing with the U.S. under President Ronald Reagan, aiming to develop their economy to outproduce America at the tail end of the Cold War.
Commentators have long called the coronavirus global pandemic “China’s Chernobyl.” Yet recent reports — if they prove true — make the comparison even more apt.
On Wednesday, sources told Fox News that the evidence points to a Wuhan lab as the origin point of the coronavirus. According to Fox’s sources, the Chinese lab had been working to develop the virus “not as a bioweapon, but as part of China’s effort to demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses are equal to or greater than the capabilities of the United States.”
China didn’t intentionally unleash the coronavirus on the world, but it may have created the virus in an effort to compete with the U.S.
China’s mishaps during the pandemic already invited comparisons to Chernobyl before Fox News’s bombshell report, however.
The British think tank the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) laid out a digestible timeline of the virus’s spread and China’s lies about the disease and failure to contain the spread.
“From the outset, the CCP tried to censor attempts by Chinese citizens to identify and publicise the truth concerning the origins, nature and dangers of the virus. Not all of these censorship efforts succeeded, and a considerable body of independent, corroborative data came to light,” the HJS report explains.
According to unpublished, unconfirmed Chinese government reports seen by the South China Morning Post, the first recorded case of the coronavirus dates to November 17, 2019, weeks before The Lancet‘s claim that the first recorded case came on December 1. By December 8, the SCMP documents recorded between 1 and 5 new cases. By December 27, the SCMP documents showed 181 confirmed cases, and a friend of coronavirus whistleblower Dr. Li Wenliang recalled that his medical department first reported the new outbreak to the Wuhan Center for Disease Control on the 27th.
On December 30, Dr. Li sent a message to his friends about the outbreak, and the police responded by investigating his friends. The authorities forced Dr. Li to pledge not to spread “disruptive rumors.” Meanwhile, by that date, the SCMP documents recorded 266 cases. Li would go on to die of COVID-19 after contracting it from his patients. On December 31, China finally reported the outbreak to the WHO, while claiming there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission.
On January 1, 2020 a Hubei official ordered coronavirus tests halted and samples of the virus destroyed. On January 14, the WHO reported some human-to-human transmission, but quickly retracted the claim, citing Chinese sources. Wuhan was not put under lockdown until January 22-23. On January 26, Wuhan’s mayor admitted that 5 million people had already left the city.
On January 7, the CCP’s journal Qiushi began publishing timelines of President Xi Jinping’s efforts against the outbreak. A transcript of a speech Xi gave on February 3 referred to a statement he had made on January 7 at a meeting of the CCP Politburo Standing Committee, when he had “issued requirements for the prevention and control of the new Coronavirus.”
Xi Jinping could have acted to shut down Wuhan as early as January 7, two weeks before the city was shut down. A University of Southampton study found that if strict quarantine measures had been introduced three weeks earlier, the coronavirus’s spread would have been reduced by 95 percent.
As the coronavirus spread across the globe, China’s Communist Party put out a video encouraging Italians to hug Chinese people to prove they weren’t racist — while China was lying about the true danger of the virus. Chinese companies also sent faulty medical gear and coronavirus antibody tests to European countries. As PJ Media’s Stephen Green reported, the Communist Party is also preventing U.S. companies from shipping their own medical gear back home, where it is sorely needed. Meanwhile, Xi attempts to blame the U.S. for the virus.
The coronavirus is a tremendous scandal for China. Had Beijing acted quickly to study and contain the virus, there may have been no global pandemic. Like Chernobyl belching out radioactive ash across Europe, Wuhan spread contagion across the world. If recent reports are true, both Soviet Russia and Communist China created a global disaster while trying to keep up with the Americans.
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Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.