The coronavirus has claimed thousands of lives and the number of infected continues to rise. It’s well past the 80,000 mark and shows absolutely no signs of slowing on its own, and it’s largely due to China’s ineptitude and hubris in dealing with the situation.
When China gets sick, the world sneezes. The Chinese government’s attempts to save face with the coronavirus have backfired—not just on China, but on the world. Not only is the coronavirus uncontained in China despite all its authoritarian efforts, so too has it affected manufacturing, entertainment, and every other industry worldwide.
The damage to the global economy cannot be understated, and much of it is due to Communist China’s complete mishandling of the coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak. The country, where the deadly illness originated from, lied about the outbreak from the very first time it was detected in Wuhan in December 2019.
As the virus initially spread, Chinese officials in Wuhan and those in the nation’s capital of Beijing withheld critical information about its origins, downplayed the threat it posed, and even silenced doctors who raise the alarm. As containment got completely out of hand, entire hospitals in the city of Wuhan, which is home to roughly seven million people, reported that they were out of resources and sought international help to make up for the Chinese government’s inability to provide them with adequate equipment and medicine to treat the infected.
It was too little too late—as Human Events reported, Wuhan is a human catastrophe that exposes the dangers of communist central planning. Even as people got sick, government officials attempted to downplay public fears by organizing and even attended a Lunar New Year gala while one of its performing celebrities showed up sick with the coronavirus. The officials had the audacity to even praise her for “performing in the show with full perseverance.” Naturally, they deleted the post as hospitals filled up with the sick.
Their inability to contain the disease prompted Chinese citizen journalists to take to social media to let the world know about the severity of the situation. Following weeks of coverage, two journalists, Fang Bin and Chen Qiushi, have gone missing—presumably “disappeared” by the Chinese government. No doubt incarcerated among the tens of thousands of sick.
Fang Bin’s most popular video has been viewed almost 200,000 times, depicting eight corpses piled up in a minibus outside a hospital in Wuhan. The video’s viral popularity prompted Chinese authorities to interrogate, he alleges. In his last video, dated February 9, Fang Bin demanded the regime “hand the power of the government back to the people.” He’s been silent ever since.
Fellow citizen journalist Chen Qiushi, a former human rights lawyer, earned his reputation through his coverage of the protests in Hong Kong. With over 700,000 followers, Chen took to the streets of Wuhan, sometimes maskless (if there was nobody around) to report on the state of the once flourishing city.
Paying visits to hospitals and speaking to both the doctors and patients, he knew that the entire effort put him at risk of being infected with the coronavirus—but he persevered. Eventually, he too was threatened by the Chinese government and told to keep quiet. At the risk of imprisonment, Chen condemned the regime. If he wasn’t afraid of the virus, there was no way he’d kowtow to the Chinese government. It was the last video he posted.
A doctor, Li Wenliang—the first to warn about his discovery of COVID-19—died from the illness weeks after he was silenced by Chinese authorities for blowing the whistle on the illness.
China’s efforts to suppress the truth about the virus extends to more than just its own citizen journalists and doctors. The country has ignored offers to help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization for weeks. Chinese doctors say they need outside experience, but Beijing “without saying why, has shown no interest so far,” per the New York Times.
The CDC offered to send a team of experts to China to observe the coronavirus outbreak and come up with solutions. The request was denied without reason. China, it seems, thinks it can handle the situation well enough on its own without outside help—and their hubris is literally killing thousands of people.
Efforts to contain the virus have extended to travel bans on China. It’s a smart move given the severity of the situation, but it isn’t one that’s likely to contain the spread of the virus—a fact that isn’t helped by complaints that any sort of travel bans playon racial stereotypes and misinformation. Following the US evacuation of its citizens from China, the country accused the US government of stirring panic and fear, arguing that it set a “very bad example” when it came to tackling the outbreak.
It goes without saying that Communist China must be held fully accountable for its mishandling of the pandemic. But until we find a vaccine—assuming we ever do—the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to simply be prepared, follow travel and health advisories, and keep your shit together. Because unlike China, America doesn’t silence its journalists or doctors to save face—not when lives are at stake.