The coronavirus crisis has cost more than 83,000 American lives and left millions out of work. The vast majority of Americans rightly blame China for the spread of this devastating plague. Most Americans also say China should be “penalized” for the pandemic in one way or another.
More than two-thirds of Americans (69 percent) say the Chinese Communist Party is either “somewhat responsible” or “very responsible” for the spread of the coronavirus, according to a poll commissioned by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) and administered by YouGov. A full 71 percent of Americans believe China should be “penalized” for the spread of the virus.
“We sensed a rising skepticism of China’s claims regarding coronavirus, but it wasn’t until this poll that we saw the full extent by which a majority of Americans directly blame the Chinese government. Since the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan at the end of last year, the PRC [People’s Republic of China] government has continually lied and deceived the global community,” Marion Smith, executive director of VOC, said in a statement.
“The Chinese Communist Party’s lack of transparency, lapses in communication, and spread of misinformation rapidly escalated the spread of the virus and hindered preventative measures on a global scale,” Smith added.
He compared the poll results to “how Americans viewed the Soviet Union during the Cold War.”
“Like the showdown in Hong Kong, the coronavirus pandemic has revealed the irresponsible and predatory behavior of the CCP in much the same way that the Soviet’s 1948 blockade of Berlin revealed Moscow’s threat to peace and prosperity,” Smith argued. “We seem to be in the opening stages of a global effort to counter the CCP’s ambitions, and it has security, economic, and ideological dimensions. Clearly, the American people understand this better than some of our political elites.”
The VOC/YouGov poll surveyed 1,382 U.S. adults and found that 42 percent said the Chinese government is “very responsible” for the spread of the coronavirus, while 27 percent said that government is “somewhat responsible.” Only 7 percent said the Chinese Communist Party government is “not at all responsible.”
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About half (51 percent) of respondents said they would support the CCP paying damages to other countries for the pandemic, while only 17 percent said they would oppose these payments.
When asked for their view of China, respondents either called the Chinese Communist Party an “enemy” (37 percent) or a “competitor” (30 percent), while only 6 percent described China as an “ally.”
Nearly half of respondents (49 percent) said the coronavirus crisis had not changed their opinion of China, but many said the crisis made them view China more unfavorably (43 percent).
Most respondents said China should face penalties for the coronavirus pandemic. When asked to choose as many options as they like, Americans supported international sanctions (41 percent), additional tariffs on Chinese products (33 percent), the U.S. government refusing to pay interest on Chinese-held U.S. government bonds (32 percent), and a ban on Chinese government officials traveling to the U.S. (25 percent). While some said China should be penalized in some other way (12 percent), only 29 percent said China should face no penalties for the coronavirus crisis.
This support for penalties makes sense as more of China’s coronavirus malfeasance has been revealed. A new report compiled by the “Five Eyes” intelligence agencies of the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Britain painted a damning portrait of the CCP’s response to the virus. The State of Missouri has already filed a lawsuit to hold China accountable, and there is a growing chorus of voices demanding the U.S. sue the Chinese Communist Party in international court.
The British think tank the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), which claimed that the G7 countries should sue China for damages in excess of $4 trillion over the coronavirus crisis, 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.
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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.
Early during the crisis, China asked other countries for personal protective equipment (PPE) and received 2.4 billion pieces. Yet when other countries needed PPE, China extorted them — only sending valuable medical aid if political leaders agreed to publicly praise Beijing. Meanwhile, 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.
According to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, the Chinese Communist Party is also attempting cyber espionage on American attempts to create a coronavirus vaccine and cure. Chinese officials are also refusing to cooperate in the search for the coronavirus’ origins. The CIA has accused China of trying to prevent the World Health Organization from declaring a public emergency.
Americans are already angry with China, but as more information about the Chinese Communist Party’s malfeasance comes to light, they are more likely to demand action against Beijing.
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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