It may seem a farce to ask China to pay the world for its deliberate withholding of vital data at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, especially since China has always played by its own rules, ignoring international law and norms in the process. In this case, Chinese obfuscation and stonewalling led directly to the consequences of a pandemic that is still killing people and making them sick around the world.
But China is particularly vulnerable to international pressure at this point in history. Its economy may be about to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest. And it continue to test the international community in the South China Sea, where its military buildup continues apace.
In every sphere — scientific, diplomatic, cultural, military — the Chinese are pushing the boundaries, shouldering their way into positions of leadership and power.
But the one thing they don’t have from many nations is respect. And that fact is gnawing at them as world institutions continue to grapple with the pandemic.
The first order of business must be to establish Chinese culpability.
First, it is worth getting the historical record right. We still do not know whether the Wuhan lab was the source of the virus or whether the bat-eating story is true. Both are plausible. And both leave the question of whether the Chinese Communist party allowed the virus to come out deliberately or accidentally.
If this sounds vague, then it is by CCP design. Because the CCP spent much of 2019-20 ensuring that we do not, and cannot, know. When our allies in Australia called for an independent international inquiry into the sources of the virus earlier this year, the CCP responded by threatening sanctions against Australia. This week Chinese government accounts posted doctored photos of an Australian soldier ‘murdering’ an Afghan child. Funnily enough, the Communists don’t seem to play by the same rules as everyone else.
Because China doesn’t play by the rules, the international scientific community is stymied in its search for the coronavirus origins. That’s vital not only to establish Chinese guilt but understanding the origins of the coronavirus can prevent another outbreak, and may even lead to a cure.
But China continues to insist the coronavirus originated somewhere else — India or Italy have been mentioned most recently. But this shouldn’t matter in the case against China. Everyone agrees that the pandemic got a huge boost by Chinese intransigence in Wuhan as the communists played games with reporting the spread of disease so as not to reflect badly on them.
Perhaps they had their eye on the future when the world would demand China pay up for its criminal activity.
The kick is that China now finds itself in a buyer’s market. The rest of the globe is going to have to find a way out of this financial slump and possible depression. From Africa, to central Europe, to Brexit Britain there is one obvious way out: Chinese investment. So long as China is the country ‘driving global recovery’, the temptation will be there. Long ago the CCP bought up our universities very cheaply indeed. Not to mention a nuclear power station and more. Currently they are able to act like a property developer who has destroyed the area all around your house and now offers to buy your undesirable property at a dirt-cheap price. With certain strings attached. Even if one country resists the temptation to use Chinese investment to get out of this problem, it is unlikely that everyone will show the same restraint.
The world is about to fall into their laps and could be bought off cheaply. We shouldn’t let that happen. We’ve only begun to experience the economic fallout from the pandemic. Trillions more will have to be spent to dig us and the industrialized nations out of this hole.
If China truly wants respect, it will abide by decisions made by the World Court and other international legal bodies as reparations cases will surely come before them in the next few years. China won’t pay it all back. But reparations would send a powerful signal to Beijing that if it wants to play at being a superpower, they have to act like it on the international stage.