This week, House Democrats whose colleagues rushed to investigate President Donald Trump’s coronavirus response amid the ongoing pandemic once again refused to give the green light to an effort to investigate China’s lies and malfeasance regarding the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. Democrats blocked the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis from investigating China’s malfeasance.
“Coronavirus Committee Dems won’t let us investigate China’s cover-up,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) tweeted. “Why? – China’s lies caused global suffering & economic devastation – China undermined our efforts to combat the virus – China is reportedly trying to steal our vaccine research They must be held accountable.”
Coronavirus Committee Dems won't let us investigate China's cover-up. Why?
– China's lies caused global suffering & economic devastation
– China undermined our efforts to combat the virus
– China is reportedly trying to steal our vaccine research
They must be held accountable. pic.twitter.com/U2Ye9kO7c4
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) May 21, 2020
Republicans on the committee have repeatedly asked about opening an investigation into China. Lauren Fine, Scalise’s communications director, told PJ Media that in a hearing on Thursday, Republicans on the committee again asked about looking into China, and Democrats again refused them.
“It’s disappointing—but not surprising—that Congressional Democrats have harsher words for President Trump, rather than the Communist Chinese regime responsible for wreaking havoc against our citizens and the rest of the world,” Fine told PJ Media. “Republicans on the Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis will continue to press for answers on the origins of this crisis and accountability from the Chinese government and World Health Organization for their deception, and would urge Democrats to put their personal vendetta against President Trump aside to join us in this effort.”
Indeed, the effort to block a China investigation seems predicated on the rush to blame Trump for the crisis and ignore the horrific abuses of the Chinese Communist Party. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), perhaps the central figure in Democrats’ impeachment of President Donald Trump, began circulating draft legislation to investigate Trump’s response to the coronavirus. He claimed the investigation is “not an exercise in casting blame or scoring political points,” but Republicans are naturally skeptical.
If Democrats are going to investigate President Trump’s response to the coronavirus crisis, they should also investigate China’s malfeasance. Just last week, Chinese officials threatened “serious consequences” for members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, along with two state attorneys general. The officials named Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), and Rick Scott (R-Fla.), along with Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas).
“The Chinese government is lashing out at those in the U.S. who are appropriately trying to hold them accountable for intentionally misleading us about the nature of the novel coronavirus, where it was spreading and how quickly things were getting out of control. I consider their threats a badge of honor,” Banks replied.
Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) filed a lawsuit last month demanding tens of billions of dollars in damages due to China’s coronavirus malfeasance, which allegedly violated Missouri law. Attorney General Lynn Fitch (R-Miss.) filed a lawsuit allowing Mississippians to bring claims against China.
China abuses timeline
The Chinese Communist Party has indeed engaged in a long train of abuses regarding the coronavirus pandemic. As the British think tank the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) put it, “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.”
According to HJS’s timeline, Chinese government reports traced the first recorded case of coronavirus to November 17, 2019. By December 27, 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 that date.
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 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. It seems China pressured the WHO to retract this claim because Beijing was asking other countries to send personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Middle Kingdom.
China received 2.4 billion pieces of PPE from other countries. Yet when countries asked China for PPE, the Communist Party extorted them — only sending valuable medical aid if political leaders agreed to publicly praise Beijing. Chinese companies also sent faulty medical gear and coronavirus antibody tests to European countries, and an Associated Press investigation revealed the prevalence of counterfeit masks in America, likely tracing back to a major Chinese factory. Meanwhile, the Communist Party also prevented U.S. companies from shipping their own medical gear back home, where it is sorely needed.
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. Chinese President Xi Jinping said he had “issued requirements for the prevention and control of the new Coronavirus” as early as January 7. He 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.
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.
Democrats are out of step on China
Given all this, it is no wonder that most Americans have an unfavorable opinion of China (66 percent), according to Pew Research. In fact, a recent poll found that 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, and 71 percent say China should be “penalized” for it.
Yet Democrats seem hesitant to condemn China’s abuses. Instead, they berate Trump as “racist.” Trump’s crime? The president has referred to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus,” countering Beijing propaganda claims that the virus originally came from the U.S. While the president has condemned the harassment Asian Americans have unjustly faced during the pandemic, Democrats and leftist groups continue to blame him for this harassment — because he has the temerity to counter Beijing’s propaganda.
Investigating China’s malfeasance should not be a partisan issue, but Democrats have long sought to politicize the crisis. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has tried to pass liberal wish-list items in the name of combatting the coronavirus, and she even put House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) — who said the pandemic gives Democrats “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision” — on the coronavirus investigation committee.
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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