How Culpable are the Chinese Authorities for the Global Pandemic?

4 April 2020. Updated 3 May 2020.
Cartoon by Niels Bo Bojesen, Jyllands-Posten

Research carried out by a team at Southampton University found that if the Chinese authorities had introduced a range of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) – such as early detection, case isolation and travel restrictions – three weeks earlier than it did, cases would have been reduced by 95%. That would have meant listening to the doctors like Dr. Li Wenliang who first raised the alarm in December, not arresting them and forcing them to confess to “spreading rumours” and “making untrue comments”.

It’s not as if the Chinese authorities weren’t aware of the dangers posed by coronavirus. As Niall Ferguson pointed out in the Boston Globe, once it become clear that it was spreading from Wuhan to the rest of Hubei province, China restricted air travel from Hubei to other parts of China on January 23rd but not from Hubei to the rest of the world. As Andrew Sullivan wrote, “It’s as if the Chinese Community Party leaders said to themselves, ‘Well, we’re going under, so we might as well bring the rest of the world down with us.'”

Further Reading

WHO Says China Actions Blunted Virus Spread, Leading to Drop‘, Bloomberg News, February 24th 2020

How It All Started: China’s Early Coronavirus Missteps‘ by Jeremy Page, Wenxin Fan and Natasha Khan, The Wall St Journal, March 6th 2020

Timeline: The early days of China’s coronavirus outbreak and cover-up‘ by Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, Axios, March 18th 2020

China’s Lies, And Ours‘ by Mona Charen, National Review, March 27th 2020

China owes us £351 billion: Britain should pursue Beijing through international courts for coronavirus compensation, major study claims as 15 top top Tories urge “reset” in UK relations with country‘ by Harry Cole, Mail on Sunday, April 4th 2020

Coronavirus Compensation? Assessing China’s Potential Culpability and Avenues of Legal Response‘, Matthew Henderson, Dr Alan Mendoza, Dr Andrew Foxall, James Rogers, and Sam Armstrong, Henry Jackson Society, April 5th 2020

How did covid-19 begin? Its initial origin story is shaky‘ by David Ignatius, The Washington Post, April 2nd 2020

Coronavirus: Nature magazine apologises for reports linking Covid-19 with China‘ by Sarah Zheng, Nature, April 9th 2020

It’s Time for Conscious Uncoupling With China‘ by Andrew Sullivan, New York, April 10th 2022

WITHOUT A TRACE Wuhan whistleblowers still missing two months on after exposing true horrors of coronavirus‘ by Henry Holloway, The Sun, April 15th 2020

2008 Nobel Prize for Medicine Winning Dr Luc Montagnier Says Covid-19 was “manipulated” for HIV Research‘, Jewish Voice, April 17th 2020

US lawyers sue China for TRILLIONS of dollars as they accuse Beijing of negligence for allowing coronavirus outbreak to erupt before covering it up‘ by Ian Birrell, Mail on Sunday, April 19th 2020

Is China preparing for war?‘ by Maajid Nawaz, UnHerd, April 20th 2020

COVID-19’s willing accomplice‘ by Kapil Komireddi, The Critic, April 23rd 2020

Pressured by China, E.U. Softens Report on Covid-19 Disinformation‘ by Matt Apuzzo, New York Times, April 24th 2020

Trump claims to have evidence coronavirus started in Chinese lab but offers no details‘ by Maanvi Singh Helen Davidson and Julian Borger, The Guardian, May 1st 2020

Bombshell “Five Eyes” Western intelligence dossier claims China lied about human-to-human transmission, “disappeared” whistle-blowers and refused to help other countries prepare a vaccine for coronavirus‘, MailOnline, May 2nd 2020

Wuhan virus lab “cover-up”‘ by Glenn Owen, Mail on Sunday, May 2nd 2020

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Jonas Vasco
Jonas Vasco
23 days ago

I find this argument extremely hypocritical, and a failure to acknowledge our own faults in preparation for this will mean that we’ll go sleep-walking into the next pandemic with our masks pulled down.

It is very true, tragically so, that China could have reduced its number of cases by 95% if it had acted three weeks earlier, but the UK had more time to prepare and better knowledge about the virus, and was EVEN SLOWER to act.

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