July 1, 2020

FLASHBACK: Time to put China on lockdown for its dishonesty amid coronavirus crisis.

There are many lessons to be learned from the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. But one is already clear: China needs to be isolated from the civilized world until its behavior improves. We are in the current situation, with deaths and economic devastation worldwide, because China handled this outbreak with its trademark mixture of dishonesty, incompetence and thuggery. Were China a more civilized nation, this outbreak would have been stopped early, and with far less harm, inside and outside of China.

As Marion Smith wrote in these pages on Sunday, China’s first response was to clamp down on reports of the then-new disease that had appeared in Wuhan. The brave doctor, Li Wenliang, who first reported the disease to fellow physicians was silenced by police. Chinese media reports of the disease were censored by the government. So were ordinary citizens reporting on social media.

According to U.S. intelligence agencies, China systematically deceived the world about the extent of the outbreak, lulling other nations into a false sense of security that delayed a response by weeks or even months.

As Smith writes: “Beijing denied until Jan. 20 that human to human transmission was occurring. Yet at the same time, Chinese officials and state-owned companies were urgently acquiring bulk medical supplies — especially personal protective equipment like masks and gloves — from Australia, Europe, and around the world. Put simply, Beijing hoarded the world’s life-saving resources while falsely claiming that people’s lives weren’t at risk.” . . .

A competent, honest response would have placed the world on notice much earlier. A China that cared about the rest of the world would have halted flights abroad while this disease was spreading, instead of allowing its citizens to spread willy-nilly around the globe. (As Brian Kennedy writes: “China seems to have taken the position that if they were to suffer the coronavirus, so too was the United States and the rest of the world. What else is to explain the continuation of flights from China to the United States at the rate of some 20,000 passengers a day, until President Trump wisely shut them down?”)

Just a reminder not to trust China. China is asshole.

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