Concern is beginning to mount that officials in China knew about the dangers of the coronavirus earlier than they have previously let on. Scientists were aware of the virus, and suspected how deadly it could become, but government officials urged them to be quiet.
Dr. Li Wenliang, a doctor who worked at Wuhan Central Hospital, raised alarm bells about the virus. He had contacted medical colleagues on December 30, but police instructed him to stay silent and to desist in “making false comments.” He has since died from the illness.
Only 34 years old at the time of his death, Dr. Li was aware of seven cases that resembled SARS, which was also a global pandemic in 2003, but of a lesser magnitude than the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus.
It was also in late December that sick patients in Wuhan were tested by genomics companies, who noticed that there were similarities to the SARS virus. The New York Post reports that the “researchers alerted Beijing of their findings—and on Jan. 3, received a gag order from China’s National Health Commission, with instructions to destroy the samples.”
The result of this was that local officials in Wuhan went ahead with their gala potluck plans, where 40,000 families attended. Even when the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention went to Wuhan on January 8, information was intentionally withheld about the virus, its spread, or sick patients.
It was on January 20 that the news finally surfaced, and Wuhan was placed on lock down three days later. This was far too late for those who were already sick, dying, or would contract the virus.
It is understandable that officials didn’t want this to be true, that perhaps they thought that if they ignored reality it would simply go away, but there is no justification for that. These national leaders, who struggle to gain the world’s trust even in the best of times, had the opportunity to curtail what would become an international illness that has taken down individuals, industries, and nations, and they were too concerned with their own need to cling to normalcy.
This totalitarian regime, which has implemented concentration camps for Muslims, as well as draconian policies and limits on liberty, is the reason why so many international leaders do not trust what China has to say. Nor should they.
Even now, as we write this, China is spreading dangerous and conspiratorial messages through official channels and through proxies, saying that referring to coronavirus by its place of origin is “racist” and that the US army brought the pathogen to China.
What’s even worse is that many in the American establishment media are parroting these talking points, without any evidence, simply because they have got into the habit of thinking America is the root of all evil. It isn’t.
When outlets like NBC or The New York Times run brutal claims like “Coronavirus in China kept me under quarantine. I felt safer there than back in the U.S.” or “China Bought the West Time. The West Squandered It,” and when pundits echo word for word Beijing propaganda, it confirms that there are bad actors doing China’s bidding on this side of the pond as well.
It’s time for American mainstream media to stop running cover for a Chinese communist regime that is more concerned with their own image and presence on the world stage than protecting either their own citizens or realizing that they have culpability.
American media likes to defer to Chinese talking points because they figure that no nation could be a bigger international sinner than the US. What they forget is that while America’s major sins are in its past, countries that maintain a stranglehold on information that the world needs in order to curb an international pandemic are in fact worse. But it’s not a contest. The job of journalists is to hold international leaders to the truth.
China is lying to the world about coronavirus. It has been for since 2019. And now is the time for everyone living in free democracies to put aside ideological differences and reject the propaganda. As more and more evidence of China’s deception emerges, we must realize that calling that out is also standing up for our own democracy, freedom and way of life. In our global age, no nation has the right to withhold information that can impact all of us.