In an interview on Tuesday, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates dismissed calls to hold China’s Communist Party accountable for lying to the rest of the world and enabling the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Gates said China “did a lot of things right,” while slamming America’s response. He insisted that any move to hold China accountable would be a “distraction.”
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria noted that many in Washington, D.C. want to hold China accountable. “Far from cooperating with the second-largest economy in the world, it is China that is to blame for this virus,” Zakaria explained. “How would you respond to the charge that the Chinese covered this up, they essentially deceived the rest of the world, and as a result, they should be held in some way responsible for this?”
“Well, I don’t think that’s a timely thing because it doesn’t affect how we act today,” Gates said. “China did a lot of things right at the beginning. Like any country where a virus first shows up, they can look back and say, well, they missed some things. Some countries did respond very quickly and get their testing in place and they avoided the incredible economic pain, and it’s sad that even the U.S. — that you would have expected to do this well — did it particularly poorly.”
“But it’s not time to talk about that. This is the time to take the great science we have, the fact that we’re in this together, fix testing, treatments, and get that vaccine. Minimize the trillions of dollars and many things that you can’t even dimensionalize in economic terms that are awful about the situation that we’re in,” Gates added. “So that’s a distraction.”
Gates is correct that testing, treatments, and a vaccine are more pressing issues than holding China accountable for the moment. He also advocated for reopening the economy in stages, as President Donald Trump has suggested. Gates has donated $20 million to help develop a vaccine in Africa.
However, China’s malfeasance cannot be swept under the rug. The British think tank the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) claimed that countries should sue China for breaking international law and demand trillions in damages.
“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According to unpublished, unconfirmed Chinese government reports seen by the South China Morning Post, the first recorded case of the coronavirus dates to November 17, 2019, weeks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. China’s foreign ministry has accused U.S. authorities of “lying through their teeth” on the virus.
The Communist Party continues to clamp down on citizens who try to prevent the authorities from scrubbing electronic reports about the virus.
Holding China accountable is not just a retrospective activity. If the Communist Party purges those electronic reports, that will thwart scientific efforts to combat the virus.
Bill Gates has done tremendous good across the world in the coronavirus crisis, but he is badly mistaken on China.
Bill Gates actually praises China — the country that caused the coronavirus and lied to the world by trying to cover it up — as having done "a lot of things right," while criticizing America's response. pic.twitter.com/mqcf3IL8fk
— MRCTV (@mrctv) April 28, 2020
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.
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