Yesterday’s RealityChek post explained why Americans looking for current domestic scapegoats for the sluggish China Virus outbreak response are barking up the wrong tree. But despite the predictable criticisms from globalism- and political correctness-happy elites and the Mainstream Media journalists who follow their cues, the search for foreign scapegoats is absolutely legitimate – primarily because one country above all has unmistakably earned the title: China.
Skeptical? Then check out this editorial from The Epoch Times. As it compellingly demonstrates, “Where Ties With Communist China Are Close, the Coronavirus Follows.”
More specifically, although the editorial writers note that numerous drivers lie behind COVID19’s spread, “the heaviest-hit regions outside China all share a common thread: close or lucrative relations with the communist regime in Beijing.”
One reason I found the editorial especially important was its explanation for the virus’ concentration in Italy. Some convincing explanations for high levels of Italian mortality rates have come out, but I’ve yet to run across any material on why China Virus became so common in Italy to begin with. The Epoch Times spotlights some major reasons:
“Italy, the most heavily affected country outside China as of March 10, was the first (and only) G-7 [“Group of 7” – an official organization of the world’s seven biggest economies] nation to sign onto the PRC’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, also known as One Belt, One Road). In an attempt to prop up its weakening economy, Italy has also sought to capture the Chinese market for selling its luxury goods….
“Italy also has signed scores of sister-city agreements with China, with the cities of Milan, Venice, and Bergamo included among them. These are the areas hardest-hit by the virus.”
China ties also seem largely responsible for the coronavirus’ outsize impact on Iran:
“The Iranian regime has had a comprehensive strategic partnership with China since 2016, and its ties with Beijing began years before that. In violation of international sanctions, Iran has imported embargoed materials from China, while continuing to sell oil to the PRC. The Islamic Republic allowed flights in and out of four major Chinese cities until the end of February.”
And reinforcing the case for a vital Iran-China connection is this Wall Street Journal piece. It reports that the Iranian city of Qom, which Iran’s government calls the country’s COVID19 starting point, has been the site of numerous infrastructure projects built by Chinese engineers and technicians as part of that Belt and Road program.
As the Times notes, even South Korea’s government – whose comprehensive and seemingly testing program has garnered widespread global praise – seems to have set itself up for China Virus troubles “for refusing to ban Chinese tourists at large and instead only barring entry for those who recently traveled to Hubei Province, the epicenter of the epidemic in China.”
Don’t forget, moreover, that one big reason surely has concerned South Korea’s long surging economic relations with China – which assembles lots of high-value manufactured goods containing numerous South Korean parts and components. The same goes for Japan, another coronavirus hotspot.
The Epoch Times‘ conclusion is also borne out by the experiences of two other places with extensive economic relations with China that seem to have the disease contained: Hong Kong and Taiwan. (And I don’t mean to suggest that the latter isn’t a “country.”)
The city, located right next to another China Virus epicenter, Guangdong Province, has basically shut its border with the People’s Republic. Taiwan “began to board planes and assess passengers on Dec. 31, 2019, after Wuhan authorities first confirmed the outbreak. In early February, Taiwan banned entry to foreign nationals who have traveled to the PRC.”
Of course, now that the virus has spread far beyond China, government authorities need to focus on more domestically focused strategies – although plugging remaining foreign travel gaps, as President Trump approved in his otherwise unsuccessful Wednesday night Oval Office address, can certainly be justified in many circumstances.
Moreover, China’s primo role in not only the coronavirus outbreak but the previous Bird Flu and ongoing Asian Swine Flu episodes indicates that there’s something about China that makes it particularly (if not uniquely) plague-prone. As a result, further curbs on commerce with the PRC seem imperative even leaving aside (as no one should) Beijing’s recent threat to cut off shipments of vital medicines and their chemical ingredients to the United States. In other words, keeping the focus on China’s responsibility will help American leaders keep and intensify their focus on desirable, broader economic decoupling.
And China’s disgraceful effort to place blame for the virus on the United States amounts to a major additional reason to spotlight the above transnational coronavirus links.
“Blame games” in politics and policy are often condemned, and surely they’re often wrongheaded or overdone. But they also serve the valuable purpose of clarifying thought, accurately identifying problems, and – as suggested above – speeding the discovery of effective solutions. That’s why The Epoch Times editorial gives me more reason than ever to keep calling the coronavirus the China Virus – and why the same should go for all Americans.