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COVID-19 and China’s Costly Deception

By Wesley Smith1587560400000

As the United States and the world continue to reel from the repercussions regarding the Coronavirus pandemic, multiple intelligence sources are reporting over the last five days that Wuhan, China was indeed where the COVID-19 outbreak began.  However, these sources believe there was never a bat-to-human transmission of the virus in a wet market, as Chinese officials claim.  Rather, the initial transmission of this specific strain of virus happened bat-to-human in a government-run laboratory.  The infected individual who worked at the lab then went into the population in Wuhan.

Fox News reports the COVID-19 outbreak likely originated “not as a bioweapon but rather as part of China's attempt to demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses are equal to or greater than the capabilities of the United States . . . . This may be the ‘costliest government cover-up of all time,’ one of the sources said.”  The evidence comes from classified and open-source documents and evidence.  If true, China’s motives and actions will go down as the most misguided ego trip in history.

Speaking to Fox News "The Story" Wednesday evening, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remarked: "What we do know is we know that this virus originated in Wuhan, China. We know there is the Wuhan Institute of Virology just a handful of miles away from where the wet market was. There is still lots to learn. You should know that the United States government is working diligently to figure it out.”

Now reports from the Associated Press and other media outlets are revealing that in the midst of the most dangerous pandemic since 1918, China has been deceptive and used its influence with the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) to prompt that body, under the direction of Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to further the deception—at the cost of  hundreds of thousands of lives and the wrecking of the world economy.  Early on in the pandemic Tedros praised China, rather than challenging the Communist nation, and indicated they were a model as to how to control and defeat COVID-19.  Tedros, even though he had flown to China to meet with President Xi and knew the dangers of the virus, initially refused to declare it a public health emergency, then a global pandemic.  He initially criticized restrictions on travel.

Tedros, from Ethiopia, served on the nine-member executive committee of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), one of four ethnically based political parties making up the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the brutal authoritarian regime that ruled Ethiopia with an iron fist from 1991 to 2019, according to the National Review. “When Tedros sought to become WHO director-general in 2017, he met fierce opposition to his candidacy from Ethiopians angry with his defense of the country’s abusive regime, as well as his record as Minister of Health. He was ultimately confirmed despite allegations that, as Minister of Health, he directed the cover-up of three deadly cholera epidemics by simply insisting that they were Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD), apparently hoping to avoid the impact that the public admission of a cholera epidemic might have had on Ethiopian tourism and the image of his party.”

Not surprisingly, along the way Tedros has had a long and friendly relationship with China.  It was China that promoted his rise to become the head of the W.H.O., despite objections from his fellow-citizens in Ethiopia.

Here are some key facts about COVID-19 and the Chinese.  On January 23, Chinese authorities locked down the city of Wuhan.  At about the same time, the W.H.O. tweeted they “have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus identified in Wuhan.”  However, on the same day a W.H.O. senior official stated there may have been limited human-to-human transmission.  Yet, unbelievably, on January 30 Tedros said, “The Chinese government is to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the outbreak. . . . We would have seen many more cases outside China by now, and probably deaths, if it were not for the government’s efforts and the progress they have made to protect their own people and the people of the world.” By the end of February there were thousands of known cases outside China and scores of deaths; yet Tedros was still praising the Chinese response to the outbreak.

We now know that China knew about the potentially dangerous spread of the deadly virus early in January.  They deliberately covered it up. Some of the doctors in Wuhan who first raised the alarm about the virus were accused by the government of spreading rumors.  One of the doctors was arrested and later died.  According to the Associated Press, government officials in China had secretly determined that the world was likely facing a pandemic by January 14, 2020.  China’s response?  They began buying up Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from other countries around the world and stockpiling them in China, all while hiding the fact there was any significant danger.  Last month a study at the University of South Hampton determined that the number of worldwide cases of the virus could have been reduced by 95% had China been honest, acted earlier, and warned the world.

In fact, we still do not know how many people in China contracted the virus or how many have died.  Officials around the world do know the statistics that China has revealed are so low as to be completely unbelievable.  On NBC’s Today Show, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said, “They’ve been misleading us, they’ve been opaque, if you will, from the early days of this virus.  So, I don’t have much faith that they’re even being truthful with us now.”  NBC’s Savannah Guthrie asked, “Does a pandemic like this constitute a threat to national security?”  Esper replied “Well. It can be.”

What are the United States and other western nations to do in light of all this?  This is a difficult question to answer. China is the world’s second largest economy.  It is not realistic to cut off trade with China; the effects would be crippling to the world, including the United States.  For now, President Trump is correct in temporarily suspending payments to W.H.O., which covered up for China for weeks.

China must be held accountable for this pandemic that is plaguing the world and for the lies and deceptions.  Of course, any military response to this crisis would be inappropriate.  However, the United States must work immediately and intentionally to decouple as much as possible from China.  This decoupling must include the production of medical equipment (China is the world’s leading supplier) and numerous pharmaceuticals. Manufacturers of all varieties in the United States must heed the lesson that COVID-19 taught us regarding China and bring the production of all kinds of goods back to the United States, even though production costs will be higher, as will the prices of the goods themselves.

As we not only plan a response to China’s calculated misbehavior about the virus, but also as to what our future relationship with China will be, we must look at the larger context of China.  They are not our enemy.  But they are our adversary.  Generally, they are not the friend of the Western world, though the world often tries to pretend that is so.

Here are six salient facts about China:

  1. China is notorious for stealing intellectual property.
  2. There have been multiple cyber-attacks on Western nations emanating from China.
  3. China manipulates currency to give it an unfair advantage in the world economy and is also a threat to the free market system.
  4. Over the objections of the world community, China is seizing small islands in international waters in the South China Sea, as well as building man-made islands.  On each of these islands there is massive construction of runways and other military facilities.  When the navies of the United States and other nations sail near these islands they are harassed and threatened.
  5. China has threatened Taiwan and strongly objects to the sale of aircraft and defensive weapons to that nation by the United States.  China unequivocally claims that Taiwan and Hong Kong will always be a part of China and appears willing to use military force to force that point.
  6. China is North Korea’s main benefactor.  Chinese forces joined with North Korea and attacked forces from the United States and its allies in the Korean War.  Much of the missile and nuclear technology in North Korea came from China.  It is the Chinese government who has defended and propped up the oppressive Kim dynasty for sixty-nine years.

Then there is the “Silk Road” plan instituted by President Xi five years ago.  Xi, by the way, is now the supreme leader for life.  So much for Communist promise of self-determination for the people of China.  A throwback to the ancient Silk Road that was the trade route between China and the rest of the world, the resurrected concept is a plan for China to become a military and economic superpower under the guise of free trade and Chinese investment to help other nations in central and south Asia.  Already China is buying property and providing investment in places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq.  Let there be no doubt, Chinese investment and aid will come at a price.

According to the Belt and Road Action Plan released in 2015, the initiative will encompass land routes (the “Belt”) and maritime routes (the “Road”) with the goal of improving trade relationships in the region primarily through infrastructure investments.  China claims the plan will usher in a golden age of commerce that will benefit everyone.  “While countries welcome Beijing's generosity, they are simultaneously wary of its largesse. China's growing influence is a concern for nations whose political interests do not always align with Beijing's," explains Paul Haenle, director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy.

China’s military is powerful enough to soon replace the U.S. as the world’s dominant superpower, according to retired U.S. four-star General Jack Keane.  “They are growing quickly as one of the largest militaries in the world and also are technologically as capable as the United States,” he told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo.  “They’ve caught us in a lot of the advantages that we have had . . . . [T]he military capability is beginning to dominate the Pacific region and that’s what clearly is on their minds and they may replace the United States as the global power in the world today. It is their military that is going to help them do that as well as their economic engine,” he explained.

The goal of China’s influence operations around the world is to replace the United States as the world’s leading superpower, according to the CIA’s Michael Collins.  Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum last year during a session on the rise of China, Collins, the deputy assistant director of the CIA’s East Asia Mission Center, said Chinese President Xi Jinping and his regime are waging a “cold war” against the U.S.

A nation should never discount or underestimate the means and motives of an adversary.  The world learned this with Adolf Hitler.  When the Nazis were defeated, that lesson was brought home again by the Soviet Union’s Joseph Stalin and the millions who died under his hand, as well as the decades of the Cold War. A few years ago, it was foolish for then-President Obama to dismiss ISIS as a junior varsity terror group.  China is not a benevolent nation.  While we must negotiate and trade with this large Asian country, all Americans must be wide-eyed and realistic about their ongoing misbehaviors and their ultimate goals.

You can follow more of our legal and policy analysis concerning the COVID-19 pandemic here.

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