Hardly any doubt remain, that China came to know about deadly Corona Virus as long back as Dec 2019, but chose to hide it from the world. And worse, it allowed around 5 million people working in Wuhan to travel outside, which ultimately accounted for most of the infections and Deaths in Europe.
Now the question is will China be punished for this? It can be. But for that public opinion needs to be built up against this very powerful country. To build up a strong opinion, two things are needed. Political will of Governments across globe and Free Press. Let us talk about the Media Freedom first.
Media in China has no freedom at all. All the publications are controlled by Communist Party. Public in China don’t have access to global Social Media platforms. They have their own SM networks. And content their also is monitored. However, in rest of the world Media has almost unbridled freedom and they can write anything they want. So what’s the problem? If Chinese Media cannot write against this Corona blunder, Media outside can do the job. That’s where the problem is. China by using its huge economic leverage, is busy buying out positive coverage for itself. When it comes to freedom of Media China is having it both ways. Those who have the easy access to local information (Chinese Press) can’t do it, and those who have the freedom (Global Press) won’t do it.
To understand this dichotomy we need not go far. For example let us look at this propaganda tweet by famous (?) Media house from New Delhi.
This Media House epitomizes everything, that’s wrong with journalism in India. But it’s not the only one in India, which practices yellow journalism. It is a part of the clique of Left leaning politicians and Media organisations who are working as handmaidens of anti-democratic foreign forces. During the Cold war years the gang took orders from Kremlin, these days they are busy furthering Beijing’s agenda.
As the spread of Covid-19 became more and more intense, most of the powerful economies decided to implement full or partial lockdowns. The irony is, the country which was responsible for this mess, was getting ready to put its giant manufacturing wheels in action. But even before that, what was running full steam were the wheels of Chinese propaganda machine.
Whatever said and done, you must hand it to Chinese. They do it in style. Even when world was coming to terms with the devastation caused by Covid-19, none less than Director General of World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted this.
The lack of sensitivity is revolting! Not a word of empathy or sympathy or acknowledgment about the deaths and devastation caused by Covid-19! How eager he is to declare victory! And whose report is he quoting? Of course the venerable BBC! Slam Dunk!!!
Taking the cue from its erstwhile colonial masters the Indian foot soldiers of propaganda swung into action swiftly. Sample this.
And this is just tip of the iceberg. All around the world Media houses are busy creating image of China which is responsible and humble. Whereas exact contrary is true. Xi and his Communist Party are running a totalitarian regime, which has no respect for Freedom of Expression or will allow dissent. China is a brutal 21st century force which is determined to expand its influence at any cost. Human lives, yes even thousands of them may not be the reason enough for it to stop.
As I said earlier it’s not only the media. We need political will and strong action from Global powers. But the biggest economies, be it USA or Europe cannot function without Chinese exports. In 2019 USA imported goods worth $ 415 Billion and Europe, $ 362 billion. China runs a $ 345 Billion surplus with USA and $ 164 Billion with Europe. If Europe is under the spell of death and destruction today, it’s because Italy (mainly), under Chinese pressure, could not stop flow of Chinese goods and people in time. Eventually Corona infections killed closed 15000 (60% of total deaths) people in Europe.
It’s now amply clear, that till Doctors and Scientists are yet to come up with effective medication against Covid-19, Social Distancing is the only solution to stop community transfer and keep number of deaths to minimum. But doing this, takes leaders with huge credibility, who are ready to spend political capital and can take economic hit. Hence only a leader with stature of Narendra Modi was able to implement a Janata Curfew (self-imposed curfew) while developed countries in Europe and USA itself are struggling to implement lockdowns. As you read this, reportedly even today malls and commercial business centres are partially functioning. And even when there is no sign of Corona infections going down, Trump is considering opening up the borders.
So, to me it’s quite clear western powers are in no position to call out China’s bluff. Trump may call Corona a Chinese Virus but that’s that. Don’t expect anything more than that. That’s only rhetoric. As I said earlier, we need strong action from political leaders and truthful reporting from big Media houses. Instead we have leaders using strong words and media, peddling agenda.
In all likelihood, even after highly irresponsible handling of a medical crisis of unimaginable proportions, China will get away with few condemnations here and there but largely intact. Don’t forget Neville Chamberlain allowed Hitler to gobble Austria and Czechoslovakia, even when there was writing on the wall for everybody to see.
It will be a sort of achievement even if powers that be, are able to force Dr Tedros to step down.