NP View on COVID-19: China’s lies have allowed the coronavirus epidemic to spread

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The good news is that Shenzhen has become the first city in China to ban the sale of dogs and cats for human consumption. This decision is another response to the COVID-19 epidemic, which is believed to be due to horseshoe bats sold in “wet markets”, which sell a range of live and dead animals, including bats. -mouse. Dogs and cats are not very popular as household food, but have grown in popularity as pets, prompting the city of 12 million to explain that the ban “meets demand and the spirit of human civilization ”.

Figures suggest that China has largely mastered the virus five months after the first known case appeared. He reported only 90 new cases on Wednesday, about a tenth of the number of deaths that day in Spain (950) and the United States (850). Communist leaders in Beijing have begun to slowly revive the economy, which has plummeted dramatically as draconian measures were imposed to stem the spread of the virus. In addition to containment efforts, China’s leadership is now working hard to divert blame from the epidemic and formulate alternative facts to those widely reported around the world.

A resident pays for his errands by standing on a tree stump to look over the barriers erected around a wet market in Wuhan, China, April 1.


Aly Song / Reuters

They may face a challenge as the credibility of China, which has never been great, has been reduced to a degree that even its inventive propagandists can find it difficult to overcome. Originally praised for its response to the epidemic, we now know that Beijing has done its best to hide and then minimize the danger, arrest and punish those who tried to issue warnings, glorify the media who obediently obeyed the line of war. government and expel foreign journalists who couldn’t not be scared or controlled. The mere mention that the virus is from Wuhan has been deemed racist and insulting, while officials plant conspiracy theories suggesting a dark plot by the US military.

While such ideas may seem laughable, so is China’s influence in global organizations that the World Health Organization (WHO) – the organization many would expect to be at the forefront of. the virus – itself saw its integrity question. Bruce Aylward, a Canadian doctor appointed to lead a joint WHO-China mission on the virus, has been the target of hot attacks on social media for appearing to dodge a question about Taiwan, out of respect for Beijing’s political sensitivity. The Hong Kong journalist who asked the question was then attacked by pro-Chinese lawmakers, while the station she worked for was accused of breaching her duty to promote China’s policy “one country, two systems ” While the world’s attention was focused elsewhere, China used the COVID-19 crisis to quietly arrest Hong Kong residents and demote the head of the Hong Kong office, replacing him with a devoted ally of President Xi Jinping.

World Health Organization (WHO) -China Joint Mission Team Leader on COVID-19, Bruce Aylward, shows graphics at a press conference at WHO headquarters in Geneva on February 25.


Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

It is therefore not surprising that doubts are expressed about the reliability of Chinese data. Bloomberg News reported this week that a confidential US intelligence document concluded that Beijing had deliberately concealed the extent of the crisis, underreporting the total number of cases and deaths, which clearly handicapped other countries in their understanding of the threat and their ability to prepare for it. No one will ever know how many more deaths have resulted from the Chinese leaders’ determination to protect themselves at the expense of others.

The regime is now working to dilute the damage. He must have sent a shipment of protective gear to Canada after Ottawa sent him tons of medical supplies earlier in the crisis. Report that China has also lifted its year-old ban on Canadian canola exports has been proven wrong, but the regime marked a public relations coup when it allowed an airplane belonging to the New England Patriots to land and load more than a million masks, for distribution to health workers.

A New England Patriots Boeing 767-300 aircraft with a shipment of over one million N95 masks from China, which will be used in Boston and New York to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, arrives at Logan Airport from Boston on April 2.


Jim Davis / Pool via REUTERS

No one should be naive enough to believe that such efforts reflect real change in Beijing, either in its outlook or in its approach. If anything, the pandemic has increased the determination of its unelected leaders to protect their powers and strengthen their controls. Xi and his accomplices cannot help worrying about the willingness of ordinary Chinese to openly criticize the government’s handling of the situation. When Xi was to visit the center of the epidemic in March, a local official suggested that it was “necessary to provide gratitude education to residents of the whole city” to properly display their appreciation, which provoked a violent reaction online.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his liberals have been rightly criticized for their determination to turn a blind eye to Beijing’s rogue nature, while enthusiastically pursuing trade ties. It would be simple folly to revive this approach once COVID-19 has been contained. It can be difficult to rebuild a supply chain that has made Canada, as well as other western countries, dangerously dependent on China for essential medical supplies and equipment, but it just has to happen. China is not a reliable partner and cannot be trusted with a country that Canadians may one day need help. All future relationships should be screened through a screen that puts Canada’s safety and security first and treats Chinese insurance with an acute degree of mistrust and doubt.

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