The toll taken by the COVID-19 virus is staggering, resembling that of a considerable war.
The losses have been needlessly caused. Through negligence or malfeasance, the Chinese government’s failure to issue a timely warning of the outbreak to the world eliminated the possibility of stopping the plague in its earliest stages, a move that would have prevented its worldwide spread. As late as January 14, Chinese authorities insisted that “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus” existed.
In late January, approximately 5 million people left the city without being screened for the illness. As China celebrated the Lunar New Year Holiday, hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens moved unrestrained across the nation to join in gatherings were food bowls were shared.
This is not the first time that the Chinese government recklessly endangered the world. A Foreign Policy study found that in the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak,
“China’s Ministry of Health was aware for months of a dangerous new type of pneumonia in Guangdong province before sharing that information with other nations or issuing a nationwide bulletin to hospitals and health professionals on preventing the spread of the disease. That virus spread to 29 countries, sickened thousands of people, and killed 774 before being brought under control in July 2003. […] Local police punished and censored doctors and other whistleblowers who sought to raise early alarm over the novel coronavirus.”
The ruling Chinese Communist Party, (CCP) and dictator-for life Xi Jinping, deliberately seek to downplay anything that may hinder China's economy. They know that their regime rests on an unspoken social contract with the population, which promises increasing prosperity in return for no challenges to their authoritarian control. Bluntly stated, the Chinese Communist Party leadership intentionally endangered the health of the entire planet to avoid bad publicity.
There is motive, means, and vast numbers of dead bodies in this crime against humanity, and even a history of recidivism in the matter, as well as an attempt to cover up the terrible misdeed. But how to enforce justice?
There are several approaches that could be explored.
According to the Congressional Research Service, China’s Holdings of U.S. Securities as of June 2018 in U.S. securities totaled $1.6 trillion. Washington could consider declaring that these securities will not be honored pending Beijing’s reparations for the COVID crisis. This, of course, is not without drawbacks. The attractiveness of this investment is its near absolute security; this would be a sharp blow to that.
There are other avenues. As Public Citizen points out,
“Chinese financial interests have acquired more than $120 billion of assets in the U.S. economy since 2002. Fifteen Chinese government entities (sovereign wealth funds and state-owned enterprises) and government-connected private sectors firms account for nearly 60 percent of this activity.”
Some have suggested these assets be confiscated or held.
Other financial remedies exist. CSIS reports that the value of China’s exports in goods annually surpasses the amount it imports from the rest of the world. In 2018, China exported $2.49 trillion in goods while it imported $2.13 trillion. Cutting trade with China, switching to other countries for the types of goods that nation exports, would be a significant blow to the Beijing regime.
The facts are clear. In its endangerment of the world due to its horrendous record of covering up the start of new diseases, and its negligence in addressing the reasons why they occur, the CCP has been a malevolent presence on the global scene. This is compounded by that entity’s predatory financial actions across the planet. It should no longer have a vote on the U.N. Security Council or the General Assembly.
The time has come to announce that the CCP is unacceptable to the world community, and to withdraw all recognition of it as a legitimate governing entity.
Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy and Government