Thursday 19 March 2020

Responding to some of the anti-China rhetoric in the US

I’ve lived in China and Hong Kong for forty years. I’ve no love of Xi Jinping’s regime (I loathe him). BUT….

Three things we can say about where we stand:

1. China mishandled the beginning of the viral outbreak in Wuhan. Because:
(a) not knowing what they were dealing with and
(b) suppression of information, by Leninist apparatchiks.
2. The US mishandled the beginning of the viral outbreak in the US. Because:
Failure of the Administration (ie. Trump) to take it seriously. [ADDED: summary]
Trump said as recently as Jan 30 that there were “just 15 cases” and he thought — because, he said, he had a “natural gift for understanding” viruses — that it would quickly go to zero (it didn’t). On Feb 24 he said it was “under control in the USA” (it wasn’t). That attitude surely filtered down to a lack of urgency at lower level of governments. Even when that changed, the CDC totally screwed up the distribution of early testing kits, and even today there are not enough.

3. It’s useful for the US, now, to blame China and claim that they are the ones responsible for the delays. Yes, they were responsible for some of the delay. Some of that delay is understandable – they had no idea what they were dealing with. But the WHO, time and again, since they were advised of the outbreak, have been pleading with the world to treat it seriously. Trump, and hence the US, didn’t take heed until recently. And so he blames China (“the China virus”), to deflect attention from their palpable failure to take the virus seriously until recently. Yet it’s false to blame China for the US delays.

All the bickering over the name of the virus, is just a sideline and trying to deflect blame.  It’s silly and dangerous. The US ought to be learning from China, not casting blame.

Timeline of Trump Admin response, As at March 14.