This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that three researchers from the Chinese Institute of Virology in Wuhan were hospitalized in November 2019 with “symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness.” This report followed a series of investigative articles by journalists such as Nicholas Wade and Donald McNeil, formerly of the New York Times, which revived the theory rejected by the media that the institute had generated COVID-19 in a laboratory and then accidentally authorized it. sink. “The argument that he could fled from the Wuhan Institute of Virology or a sister lab in Wuhan became considerably stronger, ”McNeil wrote. And China’s lack of frankness is worrying. “
It now seems highly credible that COVID-19 originated in a Chinese state laboratory – and that China became aware of it as early as November. In mid-January, the World Health Organization reported, based on Chinese information, that “preliminary investigations carried out by Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the new #coronavirus.” China has censored its own Dr Li Wenliang for trying to spread the news of the danger of COVID-19. It took until the end of January for China to lock down Wuhan.
We will never know the answers to these questions, as the same WHO that covered China in the early days of the pandemic is tasked with investigating Chinese wrongdoing today. And President Biden’s administration seems happy to continue this way. Asked whether the United States would conduct an independent investigation into the Chinese origins of COVID-19, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: “We have repeatedly asked the WHO to support an expert assessment of the origins of the pandemic, without interference or politicization. “
Meanwhile, this week, actor John Cena apologized to the Chinese government. Cena, who stars in the upcoming “F9”, was interviewed by a Taiwanese television station and committed the serious offense of declaring that “Taiwan is the first country to be able to watch” the film. China, of course, sees Taiwan as a peripheral territory of China and denies Taiwanese sovereignty. So Cena, whose film has already grossed over $ 100 million in China, quickly apologized in Mandarin, saying, “I made a mistake. Now I have to say one thing that is very, very , very important: I love and respect China and the Chinese people. “
The common thread here is the reluctance of the West to confront the authoritarian Chinese regime. For some on the left, challenging China means defending Western values like democracy and human rights – and this, in turn, raises questions about America’s commitment to these principles. For some in American businesses, capitalism has not opened up China but has made the West more dependent on mercantilist Beijing.
“We are competing with China and other countries to win the 21st century,” Biden said in his recent State of the Union address. “We are at a great turning point in history.” The possible unintentional release of COVID-19 by China and its fully documented cover-up is a unique opportunity to recalibrate the West’s relationship with China. But there seems to be little liking for this necessary recalibration from a vacillating Europe and the United States.
Meanwhile, China is not wavering. China is becoming more and more aggressive: through its Belt-and-Road initiative, its militarist advances in the South China Sea and its international links with European countries happy to make concessions. China does not have to defeat the United States. All he has to do is survive us. And right now, thanks to an ugly combination of hesitation, cowardice and corruption, China seems well positioned to do so.
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