‘From villain to hero? After its badly botched response to the Covid-19 outbreak, China now seeks to be the world’s savior’, Damian Wilson, RT.com, March 20, 2020
“While China still faces criticism for its mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak at the start, first by refusing to admit it existed and then by arresting those doctors who tried to raise the alarm, when the government finally came to terms with reality it performed a massive U-turn in front of the entire watching world.
Now, while it seems to be mopping up the worst of its problems at home, Beijing has turned its attention abroad, sending experts and medical supplies to Italy – now surpassing the Chinese death toll from coronavirus with more than 3,400 victims – and Iran, where 1,284 people have died in the pandemic so far.” [snip]
“A cynic might suggest that there is something intrinsically wrong with China arguably being entirely responsible for spreading a disease then selling its cure back to those nations who have not managed to avoid its killer path.” [snip]
“And it’s not just Europe that the Chinese are looking to help in this new spirit of generosity. The billionaire founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, Jack Ma, has seemingly ignored the Trump administration’s taunts about the “Chinese Virus,” “Wuhan Virus” and “Kong Flu” and sent those highly sought-after coronavirus test kits and masks not only to African nations in need but also to the USA.
The Chinese government is trying to “establish itself as a global hero that saved many people both in and outside China,” Lee Seong-hyon, the director of the Center for Chinese Studies at the Sejong Institute in Seoul, told the US Foreign Policy magazine this week. “On the other hand, America is not investing enough resources to help its traditional allies and friends, and not investing enough in this narrative war.”
‘China Is Avoiding Blame by Trolling the World; Beijing is successfully dodging culpability for its role in spreading the coronavirus’, March 19, 2020, theatlantic.com, Shadi Hamid, Senior fellow at the Brookings Institution
“The evidence of China’s deliberate cover-up of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan is a matter of public record. In suppressing information about the virus, doing little to contain it, and allowing it to spread unchecked in the crucial early days and weeks, the regime imperiled not only its own country and its own citizens but also the more than 100 nations now facing their own potentially devastating outbreaks. More perniciously, the Chinese government censored and detained those brave doctors and whistleblowers who attempted to sound the alarm and warn their fellow citizens when they understood the gravity of what was to come.”
Hamid’s ‘censored and detained’ link goes to Nick Kristof at the NYT, behind a paywall for me: ‘‘I Cannot Remain Silent’; A brave voice in China cries out about the regime’s mishandling of the coronavirus, Feb.12 2020, with a photo captioned:
When Dr. Li Wenliang warned about the coronavirus outbreak, he was attacked as a rumormonger. He died from the disease.
And yes, as I’d remembered, correctly, Dr. Li was an opthamologist, not a virologist, FWIW.
“China has a history of mishandling outbreaks, including SARS in 2002 and 2003. But Chinese leaders’ negligence in December and January—for well over a month after the first outbreak in Wuhan—far surpasses those bungled responses.”
“This is what allowed the virus to spread across the globe. Because the Chinese Communist Party was pretending that there was little to be concerned about, Wuhan was a porous purveyor of the virus. The government only instituted a lockdown in Wuhan on January 23—seven weeks after the virus first appeared. As events in Italy, the United States, Spain, and France have shown, quite a lot can happen in a week, much less seven. By then, mayor Zhou Xianwang admitted that more than 5 million people had already left Wuhan.
If that weren’t enough, we can plumb recent history for an even more damning account. In a 2019 article, Chinese experts warned it was “highly likely that future SARS- or MERS-like coronavirus outbreaks will originate from bats, and there is an increased probability that this will occur in China.” In a 2007 journal article, infectious-disease specialists published a study arguing that “the presence of a large reservoir of SARS-CoV-like viruses in horseshoe bats, together with the culture of eating exotic mammals in southern China, is a time bomb. The possibility of the reemergence of SARS and other novel viruses from animals or laboratories and therefore the need for preparedness should not be ignored.” It was ignored.
The political scientist Andrew Michta has drawn controversy and accusations of racism for stating what any measured overview of the evidence makes clear. “The question about assigning agency and blame is pretty straightforward to answer,” he writes in The American Interest. The Chinese state, he says, is culpable.
But is this a time for blame? Yes, it is. Accounting for responsibility when a disaster happens—particularly one likely to devastate entire countries, leaving thousands dead—is not beside the point, particularly as Chinese officials move to take advantage of the crisis and launch a disinformation campaign claiming that the U.S. Army introduced the virus.” [snip]
“Of course, Americans will have to be vigilant against scapegoating Asians in general or the Chinese people in particular. With one of the highest infection rates and death tolls, Chinese citizens have suffered enough. The Chinese leadership, however, is another matter. A government is not a race. It’s a regime—and easily one of the worst and most brutal in our lifetime. Criticizing authoritarian regimes for what they do outside their own borders and to their own people is simply calling things as they are. To do otherwise is to forgo analysis and accuracy in the name of assuaging a regime that deserves no such consideration.”
But as for the mounting cases and deaths in Italy, these may be of interest you:
‘Why have so many coronavirus patients died in Italy?; The country’s high death toll is due to an ageing population, overstretched health system and the way fatalities are reported’, telegraph.co.uk, March 22, 2020
One brief snippet not in the title:
“But Prof Ricciardi added that Italy’s death rate may also appear high because of how doctors record fatalities.
“The way in which we code deaths in our country is very generous in the sense that all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus.
And ‘A Swiss Doctor on Covid-19, Published: March 14, 2020; Updated: March 22, 2020, swps.org
“A Swiss medical doctor provided the following information on the current situation in order to enable our readers to make a realistic risk assessment.
Two interesting paragraphs of many on Italy not mentioned at the Telegraph:
“The doctor also points out the following aspects:
Northern Italy has one of the oldest populations and the worst air quality in Europe, which has already led to an increased number of respiratory diseases and deaths in the past and is likely an additional risk factor in the current epidemic.”
“Less than 1% of the deceased were healthy persons, i.e. persons without pre-existing chronic diseases. Only about 30% of the deceased are women.”
(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)