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Sunday 31 May 2020

China Is Guilty, But How Will World Retaliate?

The attack has to be calibrated as the world has invested heavily in China and that country, in turn, has markets worldwide, making your own economy vulnerable when you take measures against Beijing

Mausumi Dasgupta
Mausumi Dasgupta
Literary affairs writer, consultant for overseas education

China, which is increasingly getting cornered in the international community for what appears its chicanery in sharing facts related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is coming with strange claims. One of the claims is that it was late in telling the world about the outbreak in December last year because 1,551 of the patients had shown no symptom! Yet another interesting claim it made came from, hold your breath, China’s community of scientists! They say that they can develop a drug to fight coronavirus out of the bile of bears.

The fact is that the outbreak of COVID happened in September and not in December of last year while the world certainly came to know of the scourge three months late.

Meanwhile, a question “who is the Father of COVID?” has started doing rounds in the global community. Medical and security experts of both India and the United States believe the virus is a creation of China. However, India’s political leadership is still squeamish about blaming China, with Foreign Minister S Jaishankar agreeing with his Chinese counterpart that the communist regime of Beijing should not be stigmatised.

Unlike India, the United States now blames the World Health Organisation (WHO) too of suppressing facts related to COVID while Indian Prime Minister continues to quote WHO in his tweets and speeches. Worse, on 31 March, India accepted ‘help’ from China by way of aid materials that were supplied by Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations.

China hits Europe, US, Israel hard

Almost all countries of Europe, the US, Israel and others are waiting for information about the parent country of the coronavirus. China, they believe, it is.

The outbreak of COVID in Wuhan of the Hubei province of China snowballed into a global pandemic while the virus could not reach a nearby Beijing, the capital of China, which is merely 1152.1 km away from the epicentre. Shanghai, the commercial and industrial capital of China, is a mere 839.5 km from Wuhan. The virus could not reach Shanghai either!

To the questions that Sirf News has already thrown at China, we could add another. What makes the world doubt China all the more is the fact that its President Xi Jinping did not appear to be observing social distancing in his interactions with people even when COVID had not started dissipating in the country.

Xi Jinping vows victory against COVID-19 in Wuhan - YouTube
President of China Xi Jinping in a market when incidence of COVID had not subsided yet

The world is, therefore, asking whether China knew how to protect itself while exposing just a small section of its population, which served as cannon fodder to attack the world? Beijing’s motive, they say, is establishing its economic supremacy in the world that will have lost billions of dollars by the time the menace ends.

Meanwhile, the 48 COVID cases of outsiders emerging this week in Wuhan notwithstanding, the situation is becoming normal in the epicentre. Public vehicles have started operating and industrial companies have started functioning. The countries of the world are still under lockdown.

Was China developing biological weapons?

Biological or chemical weapons are not new in the sinister domain of warfare, which mostly relatively weaker military forces employ against stronger targets. According to strategic experts, many countries in the world may have biological and chemical weapons. A former DRDO scientist told Sirf News that many countries have designed defence devices to avoid attacks by biological and chemical weapons too, but they had no idea this was how a threat could surface.

If caught with evidence, China may plead that the coronavirus leaked due to an error during testing and even the laboratory scientists who developed it got infected. The US administration is, however, convinced that the biological agent came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and that the ‘leak’ was deliberate.

If China sticks to the claim that the zoonotic coronavirus crossed the species barrier, it is not sure which animal people got it from. In February, it had blamed snakes. Now it says bats or pangolin could be the previous carriers of the virus.

And if the virus did not come from the Chinese people’s food habit of eating anything that moves, it was a human creation. After all, making modifications in the SARS (Severe and Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus, which Chinese scientists are well acquainted with, to turn it into SARS-CoV-2 in 2019 would not have been difficult.

Unfortunately, while the world doubts China, there is little chance that Beijing’s possible stratagem would backfire. That is because the world has invested in that country and that country has invested back in the world so much that punishing China would mean hurting one’s own economy as terribly. What may happen is a gradual withdrawal of American and European FDI in China. If not the noisy communists, if the economic leftists within the ideologues of the ruling party realise how foreign investment can be a strategic weapon, India must seize this opportunity.

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