US unleashes political viruses to cover up its own failure

China Daily
Chen Zhuo
2020-04-22 13:53:00
The Capitol and a stop sign are seen in Washington, DC, the United States, February 13, 2020. /Xinhua

The political viruses of blame games and racial stigmas spreading in the United States have exposed the chronic ills of US society — unending bipartisan fight, a divided public, and accusing others for their own blunders, many of which are contradictory and ridiculous.

Harry J. Kazianis, a senior fellow at US Center for the National Interest, in an interview on Tuesday said that neither the H1N1 virus nor the HIV nor the 2008 global financial crisis leaked from a US lab, and the US didn’t cover them up.

Kazianis was responding to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, who said at a news briefing on Monday that the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic broke out in the US and spread across the world, killing nearly 200,000 people, AIDS was first detected in the US in the 1980s and spread across the world, and the subprime mortgage crisis in the US eventually evolved into the 2008 global financial crisis. Yet the US has not been held accountable for any of these crises, Geng said.

Geng’s remark was, in turn, in response to the claim of some US politicians and companies that China should be sued and made to pay compensation for the losses caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Do Kazianis and others like him base their arguments on the hypothesis of the virus escaping from a Wuhan lab? Can any accusation stand without evidence? There are conspiracy theories that Wuhan outbreak was caused by a virus leaked by a US lab and later spread by the US military that took part in sports games in Wuhan late last year. Should the Chinese people buy such conspiracy theories and file lawsuits against the US?

Truly on April 17, the US president said the US intelligence agencies are investigating whether the epidemic broke out because of poor security at a Wuhan lab.

But the so-called investigation will only lead to the US administration further scapegoating China to cover up its own failures. Does the US admit it has always trampled on other countries’ sovereignty? If not, how can it probe what happened within the boundaries of a sovereign country or collect information from a lab in another country? Or does the US admit it has the almighty global surveillance network that enables it to spy on the whole world as exposed by the PRISM scandal?

Moreover, are the US intelligence agencies trustworthy? Can they truly deliver correct information? When asked about the US president’s decision to halt funding for the World Health Organization in a TV program, Kellyanne Conway, a senior counselor to the US president, said: “Some of the scientists and doctors say that there could be other strains later on. This could come back in the fall in a limited way. This is COVID-19, not COVID-1, folks.”

Is the senior counselor too ignorant about the outbreak? Unfortunately, it shows the US president is surrounded by incompetent people who can make misleading claims.

Some US politicians have accused China and/or the WHO for slow information-sharing, even cover-up. But what can China and the WHO do if such politicians turn a blind eye to even the solid information they have? For example, the US president said on April 7 that he had not seen the memos by White House Trade Advisor Peter Navarro in late January and February which warned of the risks the epidemic posed. How can people expect US politicians to listen to China or the WHO when even their top leader ignores the warning of his own adviser?

Since Jan 3, China has been regularly informing the WHO about the outbreak and notifying the US of the epidemic situation, while the WHO has been uploading information about the outbreak on social media since Jan 4. But in the two months that followed, the US federal government downplayed the pandemic risks — and even now, it is encouraging Americans to “liberate” from lockdowns, that is, get back to work defying quarantine, isolation and social distancing rules.

The pandemic is a human tragedy. And the US had more than 750,000 confirmed cases and lost 35,800 lives by Tuesday. Yet the US politicians are targeting China to cover up their failure to take prompt and appropriate measures to contain the outbreak, in order to earn political brownie points in the US presidential election year. And by doing so, they are unleashing even more political viruses in US society.

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