In China’s latest efforts to hide the truth about COVID-19, the communist regime has issued explicit guidance to censor academic papers on the virus. By order of the government, research related to the origins of the virus must go all the way to the top, to the central government, before researchers are permitted to submit their work for publication. It is already established that the vicious disease was “made in China,” but there is still quite a bit unknown about how it actually originated. The more we know, the better we can handle the pandemic now and hopefully prevent or mitigate another one in the future.
COVID-19 is a disease that has killed more than 120,000 human beings, sickened nearly 2 million, and has brought punishing financial pain to millions. The United States should do all it can within the limits of the Constitution to eliminate the virus inside the country and should work with responsible partners and allies to help them fight it in theirs too. But it cannot trust the Chinese Communist Party to cooperate on combating COVID-19 until it comes clean about the origins of the virus, what it knew about the disease, and when it knew it.
To this day, the Chinese government is lying. Those who have critical information have either disappeared or are known to be in jail. Those who are fortunate enough to have avoided both of those outcomes, so far, are censored.
Last week, the Chinese government released what they are trying to sell as the definitive timeline of events related to the outbreak. The more than 30-page Chinese Communist Party document is a propaganda effort to rewrite history and excludes major milestones that that are crucial to understanding the coronavirus pandemic and its spread.
Here are five big ones:
1. The Communist Party report fails to even mention that the disease likely originated at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. The wet market is the suspected source of the animal-to-person transmission, which makes it all the more galling that it also omitted that Wuhan authorities closed the seafood market and disinfected it without swabbing animals and their cages or taking blood samples from market workers. This means Chinese authorities destroyed evidence that cannot be recovered about the source of the virus, the patterns of those infected, and how the disease presented itself in those people.
2. It omits the timing and details of the warnings of doctors, including Dr. Li Wenliang, who the Communist Party arrested and forced to withdraw his warnings. Sadly, he became infected and succumbed to the disease. Seven other people were arrested on similar charges as Li, and their fate is still not known.
3. The Communist Party document fails to mention that even though the Chinese government was well aware of the deadly disease at the time, it greenlighted the Lunar New Year banquet held on Jan. 18, which was attended by about 40,000 families. While it credits the Communist Party for implementing the crushing and inhumane lockdown of Wuhan on Jan. 23, it memory-holed that it did so only after 5 million people had already left the city.
4. It says that on Jan. 28 Xi Jinping met with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and claimed that “Xi noted that China is ready to work with the WHO as well as the international community to safeguard regional and global health security.” However, the report leaves out the part about how the WHO committed to sending international experts to visit China as soon as possible, but it wasn’t until Feb. 16 that an international team that included two American scientists was permitted in China.
5. It conspicuously excludes one of its tactics to control the virus: silencing dissent. In early February, China was censoring social media platforms related to the virus, and journalists and activists, such as Chen Qiushi and Fang Bin, began disappearing. The Chinese government arrested others brave enough to speak out, including Xu Zhiyong and Xu Zhangrun, and revoked the press credentials of three Wall Street Journal reporters who had widely covered the outbreak, including one that was reporting from Wuhan.
Even as the U.S. prioritizes ending the virus, it’s vital for the American government and media to deny China the benefit of its lies and misinformation. Importantly, there have been bright highlights of blockbuster reporting, some of which have been referenced in this piece. But the bottom line is that the Chinese Communist Party is not a trustworthy partner in this fight. Xi’s party should be sidelined and should pay a high price for the origination, spread, downplaying, cover-ups, and continued lying about COVID-19 that continues to this day.
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