Beijing Using Red Tape to Slow Export of Critical Medical Supplies to the U.S.

Hostages of the Communist PRC. (Image by Omni Matryx from Pixabay.)

The mainland People’s Republic of China (PRC) is again risking American lives, this time with new export restrictions on medical items like coronavirus testing kits, face masks, and respirators.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this morning that “large quantities” of critical gear are just “sitting in warehouses across China unable to receive necessary official clearances” for export. Among the items being held virtually hostage by the Communist regime are 1.4 million COVID-19 testing kits assembled in China by Massachusetts-based PerkinElmer.

Export regulations recently imposed by Beijing allow for this kind of chicanery and official buck-passing by Communist officials:

A Shanghai vice mayor told Minnesota-based conglomerate 3M Co. that the city “relies on 3M’s locally produced N-95 respirators for its Covid-19 prevention efforts and lacks viable alternatives,” a second memo said. The official “signaled that lifting restrictions on distribution of the company’s masks would require instructions from Beijing,” the memo said.

PerkinElmer said it is working with the Chinese government to clear the test kits. 3M said it has received shipments from China and is working to coordinate more, though fewer planes are available than usual.

So what I’m getting here is that it suddenly became much more difficult for a company to get permission to export its own infectious-disease products during a pandemic, and that when permission does finally come, the airplanes required to move them might not.

This is just a variation on schemes the PRC has been pulling since the December outbreak of the mainland Chinese coronavirus from Wuhan, a city in the PRC ruled by Chinese Communists where the PRC-sourced Sino-virus came from. Last week I reported to you:

The Trump administration is reportedly looking at taking legal action against the Chinese Communist government over hoarding personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 respirators, booties, gloves, and other supplies. Ebony Bowden and Bruce Golding report for the New York Post that Jenna Ellis, a senior legal adviser to Trump’s re-election campaign, said: “In criminal law, compare this to the levels that we have for murder.”

She’s talking about China’s refusal to allow 3M — an American company with factories in China — to export their own goods back to the U.S. and to sell them only to China. “People are dying, Ellis told the Post. “When you have intentional, cold-blooded, premeditated action like you have with China, this would be considered first-degree murder.”

Beijing apparently paid 3M the wholesale cost of their goods but like any mobster insisted that 3M be allowed to sell to no one else. This came around the same time China was gobbling up global supplies of PPE goods while keeping secret from the rest of the world just how bad the Wuhan virus outbreak really was. An unnamed official in the Post report said that China is trying to “corner the world market” on protective goods at a time when the world needs them most.

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Meanwhile, our friends in the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan are proving to be much better global actors. A selection of recent headlines:

Taiwan says donating 2 million face masks to coronavirus-hit Japan.

Taiwan to spend $35 billion fighting virus, to donate 10 million masks.

Taiwan turns over 300,000 face masks to Philippines.

The ROC’s rivals on the Communist mainland aren’t letting this opportunity to punish a good deed go to waste. Kent Wang reported yesterday for The National Interest that the PRC is also dragging its heels on the repatriation of “several hundred” ROC citizens currently stranded in PRC-controlled Wuhan. Wang wrote that Beijing’s refusal to allow Taipei to bring its people home is “piling pressure on already strained relations across the Taiwan Strait” and that “analysts said that failure to resolve such disputes could turn stalemate into a confrontation.” No stranger to threats, bluster, and confrontation with the ROC, three days ago the PRC ordered the aircraft carrier Liaoning to sail through the East China Sea. Defense News described it as “a maneuver keeping defense ministries in Japan and Taiwan on edge.”

ASIDE: On a reader’s suggestion, I’m going old school when talking about China, because there are two of them — and one of them sucks. So I’m going back to using:

• “The Republic of China” or “ROC” (Taiwan)

• “The People’s Republic of China” or “PRC” (Mainland)

Because, seriously, to hell with those Communist thugs in Beijing.

I can’t help but think that Beijing is trying to prevent further embarrassment over how the two Chinese governments have handled their coronavirus outbreaks. ROC President Tsai Ing-Wen described her country’s far-more successful effort in a piece today for Time magazine:

Despite the virus’s highly infectious nature and our proximity to its source, we have prevented a major outbreak. As of April 14, we have had fewer than 400 confirmed cases.

This success is no coincidence. A combination of efforts by medical professionals, government, private sector and society at large have armored our country’s defenses. The painful lessons of the 2003 SARS outbreak, which left Taiwan scarred with the loss of dozens of lives, put our government and people on high alert early on. Last December, when indications of a contagious new respiratory illness began to appear in China, we began monitoring incoming passengers from Wuhan. In January, we established the Central Epidemic Command Center to handle prevention measures. We introduced travel restrictions, and established quarantine protocols for high-risk travelers.

Meanwhile, Communist mainland China declared victory over the pandemic weeks ago, yet is still hoarding protective gear. Perhaps the outbreak on the mainland isn’t as contained as the Communist Xi regime would have you believe. Also raising suspicions that Beijing might not be fully forthcoming (cough, cough) is yesterday’s report that journalist Li Zehua is still missing in Wuhan after disappearing — or perhaps I should say “was disappeared” — in February. Li had been posting YouTube videos of the Communist crackdown in Wuhan before mysteriously vanishing from the People’s Republic.

Under the one-man rule of strongman Xi Jinping, the PRC has been trying to play up China’s soft power around the world. But Beijing’s actions both at home and around the world show that the Communist mainland government remains as reliant on the iron fist as thugs always do.

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