In Sydney a Chinese man was left to die of a heart attack because Australian bystanders thought they’d be infected if they helped him. There are countless other examples of those perceived as East Asian being abused and persecuted in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Disease has a long history of racialisation and political weaponization (and much has been written about it, see, for example, Ebola as a black African disease, AIDS as an LGBT+ disease and so on), hence Donald Trump’s attempt to portray this as ‘the Chinese virus’.
Chinese people being seen as pathogenic serves the wider imperialist agenda of the West to maintain its global hegemony. A video of a Chinese TV presenter eating a bat while in a Pacific island nation was shared as footage from Wuhan and presented as evidence of Chinese savagery. This is like showing footage of ‘I’m a Celebrity’ as an example of typical British cuisine.
Though Wuhan is the most likely source of the virus, it has not yet been confirmed, and there’s evidence it may have originated elsewhere (China itself has pointed to evidence it came from the US). China is still a ‘developing’ economy, wrenching itself out of poverty that the West thrust upon it, this often means humans come into contact with animals as development uncovers wilderness, a possible cause of the virus. But whether the virus originated there or not is immaterial: that fact does not mean China is savage, backward, disease-ridden or anything like it.
In fact, according to public health expert Rob Wallace, ‘the US and Europe have served as ground zeros for new influenzas as well, recently H5N2 and H5Nx, and their multinationals and neocolonial proxies drove the emergence of Ebola in West Africa and Zika in Brazil. US public health officials covered for agribusiness during the H1N1 (2009) and H5N2 outbreaks’.
Further made-up claims, of police shooting patients dead in Wuhan, that the hospital construction site was to cover up a mass grave, and various conspiracy theories about China constructing and spreading the virus on purpose, are so easily believed in countries like Britain because of common prejudices that prevent people from investigating their validity.
I also keep hearing people say they don’t trust anything China says; all the while Britain and the US brazenly lie to us on a daily basis. China did not cover anything up, they acted responsibly to avoid panic by managing information while the virus was still under investigation and while plans could be formalised to contain it. The so-called Chinese whistleblower, Dr Wenliang, was not imprisoned or anything of the sort. He was questioned, reprimanded for leaking information before it could be properly investigated and then sent back to work. Tragically, he became infected and died fighting the virus.
Then there’s the claims by Western media that the CCP is bungling the crisis (it’s becoming increasingly clear to even the most gullible of Western audiences how ludicrous this really is). Truly, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) can do nothing right as far as our billionaire media is concerned: they take effective action; it’s spun as ‘authoritarian’ and just an excuse to turn the screw of surveillance even further on its population. They relax measures; suddenly it’s a plot to unleash the virus on the rest of the world. But the facts speak for themselves: it took China 7 weeks to stop the virus dead in its tracks and countries which have attempted to follow this example are seeing positive results.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has clear and simple instructions with proven merit: test intensively, trace contacts, quarantine and implement social distancing. The WHO Director-General stated categorically that ‘the Chinese government is to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the outbreak, despite the severe social and economic impact those measures are having on the Chinese people’. He underscored that the speed and effectiveness with which China responded to the outbreak, isolated the virus, sequenced the genome and shared it with the world were ‘beyond words’, as was the country’s ‘commitment to transparency and to supporting other countries … In many ways, China is actually setting a new standard for outbreak response’. This was the unanimous assessment of the 25-member WHO team which conducted a nine-day field study trip to Beijing, Guangdong, Sichuan and Hubei. The WHO Assistant Director-General told China: ‘The world is in your debt’ and announced that the ‘big conclusion for the world is – it’s simply not ready’, he said other countries don’t have as good ‘disease-surveillance setup as China’ suggesting they should use China as a model, and pointedly: ‘you know, if I had COVID-19, I’d want to be treated in China’.
The key to China’s success? Socialism. China’s centrally-planned system, mass mobilisation of state-owned industries and its capacity to control its private sector have driven its ability to cope with crisis. There has been mass deployment of healthcare workers and party cadre, lightning-quick production and supply chains, implementation of price controls, and regional market coordination ensuring essentials continued to flow to areas of need: food, masks and other medical products.
All testing and treatment is completely free for patients and the Communist Party forced all businesses to pay employees as normal who had to stay home during quarantine. China set up mobile testing centres which got the test result time down from 4 days to 4 hours and cut time from patient admission to lab result from 12 to 3 days. There were temperature checks at the entrance of every public building and they set up 1,800 5-person teams to identify clusters, trace contacts and arrange isolation.
The state-owned China State Construction Engineering built 2 emergency quarantine hospitals in Wuhan from foundations up in just TEN days. The state-owned electrical supplier China State Grid provided new power facilities to support these hospitals and guaranteed supply of electricity to all citizens regardless of ability to pay. They built new factories to supply enough face masks and they repurposed auto and apparel production lines for medical supplies.
The CCP prevented hoarding and price-gouging. There were massive state purchases of required products. Grocers limited the number of customers allowed into stores and had customers standing a metre apart in queues. The people experienced hardly any shortages; all 11 million residents of Wuhan ordered food online. There was a ubiquitous public health awareness campaign, including signs in public areas about correct procedures, regular updates by text; regarding nearby cases and crucial information about preventing infection.
China’s efforts have not stopped at its borders either. The CCP have donated testing kits, masks, hazmat suits, thermometers and other things to Iran, Iraq, Japan, South Korea, Serbia and various countries in Africa. They’ve shared their knowledge with countries like Italy and they donated $20M to the WHO. The Serbian President stated ‘All my personal hopes are focused on and directed toward China and its president … European solidarity does not exist’ and similar sentiments have been aired from other recipients of Chinese aid.
We can compare this with how the US handled Swine Flu a few years ago. The US closed down public areas like schools weeks later than China did with coronavirus, and nowhere near as comprehensively, they opened a specialist centre much later than China did, the US refused to close borders on the grounds it wouldn’t help Americans (in other words, if they have it so can the rest of the world) and even encouraged people to fly abroad, and at one point they reported less than 30,000 cases at a time when there were likely 10 million. Now look at their preparations for coronavirus, given that China has bought them a lot of time with strict lockdowns/quarantines: the US has struggled to even ensure a vaccine would be ‘affordable’ (it should be free) and even then hospital stays will cost literally thousands. Trump stated that should a vaccine be released, it wouldn’t necessarily be available to everyone and in fact the US already tried to gain exclusive access to a possible German vaccine, so that the US could profit from its production. The Center for Disease Control admitted its healthcare system would become ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘overloaded’; common flu already kills minimum 12,000 a year there. China tested over 300,000 people in Guangdong in just 3 weeks while the US took a full week to determine if 1 patient in California had the virus. So while the virus is spreading in the rest of the world, China is suffering few, if any, new cases.
The West has not responded well and won’t be able to given the imperatives for competition, growth and profits. For example, Britain’s healthcare system has been steadily and systematically privatised and downgraded since the early ‘90s. Meanwhile China is in the process of providing universal free healthcare to 1.4 billion people while British life expectancy is now decreasing. China has lifted several hundred million out of extreme poverty in a matter of decades while poverty, homelessness and food insecurity are increasing here in Britain, and it’s had continuous wage growth while average wages have steadily decreased here. Their economy is socialist, so they’re able to orient it towards the needs of the people, especially in times of crisis. China prioritises lives ahead of business, while the West prioritises business over lives.
http://archive.is/qJXX2 – How China Kept Its Supermarkets Stocked as Coronavirus Raged