24/03/2020
John Black
Opinion
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An Act of War?

In 1346, the Mongolian army brought the Black Death to Europe.

Laying siege to the Crimean port of Caffa, Jani Beg the leader of the Golden Horde decided to catapult the infected corpses of his comrades over the city walls. Those citizens who escaped took the bacterium Yersinia Pestis back with them to Italy and then via trade routes to the rest of Western Europe.

Today we are all living under siege thanks to the similar actions of another eastern potentate. 

By January 2nd this year, forty-one cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Wuhan province. That Xi Jinping and his commie crew knew the nature of the disease is shown by their immediate actions – a lockdown of military bases in Wuhan and the muzzling of doctors in the know. And yet they let five million people leave Wuhan province for Chinese New Year, many heading to other countries, before restricting movement three weeks later on January 23rd.

The government of a nation knowingly let probable carriers of a deadly disease travel to other nations to likely infect their populations. At the very least this shows a malicious indifference to the fate of other nations (and the Chinese people).

At worst it is a deliberate act of war.

For too long, thanks to narrow mercantile interests, most of the world has been kowtowing to Beijing. If China weren’t so vital to the world economy, the Chinese government, which is run by a gang of corrupt authoritarians, would have the outlaw pariah status of their lapdogs North Korea. 

Now that Beijing seems to have got a handle on their own COVID-19 infection rates due to the extreme restrictions on freedoms that come easily to communist regimes, I have noted the emergence of the "at least they make the trains run on time" defence of authoritarianism. Yet it is Beijing’s disregard for human liberty that led to the outbreak in the first place. Li Wenliang, the brave doctor who tried to warn others of the lethal nature of the virus was forced by police to sign a confession that he had "disturbed the social order." He later died of the disease. If Dr Li had lived in New Zealand he would have been interviewed on the six o'clock news to sound the alarm. If you can’t see the superiority of our open society to the nightmare of communist dictatorship, I suggest you book a one-way ticket to Shanghai.

If you can find one.

That’s not to say that liberal democracies mustn't in extremis impose harsh controls on movement and association. It’s likely we will see more of these in the coming weeks. However, they are aberrations to our norm of liberty. In China, the freedom to speak out that Dr Li tried to exercise is the aberration.

After the dust has settled and the cost counted of the COVID-19 catastrophe, we should not forget it was the Chinese Virus, or more accurately the Chinese Government Virus, that caused this suffering. President Trump is right to call it such. If the local and international media spent a tenth of the time criticizing Beijing that they do criticising Trump, pressure for change might build. The Soviet Union crumbled when the useful idiots in the West took a back seat to a political and media class that made common cause with the beleaguered Soviet populace.

And New Zealand should be more willing to join the U.S. and others in calling out Beijing. 

No matter how much of our milk powder they buy.