The one thing China may have successfully done with the CCPVirus is to rally the rest of the world to say Enough. Enough of the crass mercenary games, the self-serving lies, and enough of the reckless hygiene or leaky labs.
We all helped to make China what it is, by buying the cheap goods, by selling our manufacturing base, ignoring the ethical quagmire and by assuming that China would follow in the footsteps of Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
And as we speak, Chinese military ships are plying the waters of the South China Sea. While China is sending doctors and PPE to Malaysia to fight the pandemic, the Malaysian government is not publicly protesting the prolonged and close presence of the Chinese Navy. (h/t Dave B)
Time to put China on lockdown for its dishonesty amid coronavirus crisis
Glenn Harlan Reynolds, USA Today
China needs to be isolated from the civilized world until its behavior improves. We are in the current situation, with deaths and economic devastation worldwide, because China handled this outbreak with its trademark mixture of dishonesty, incompetence and thuggery. Were China a more civilized nation, this outbreak would have been stopped early…
… wherever the virus came from, China’s response was inept, dishonest and utterly inconsiderate of the rest of the world. A competent, honest response would have placed the world on notice much earlier. A China that cared about the rest of the world would have halted flights abroad while this disease was spreading, instead of allowing its citizens to spread willy-nilly around the globe. (As Brian Kennedy writes: “China seems to have taken the position that if they were to suffer the coronavirus, so too was the United States and the rest of the world….
Among other things, the United States — and ideally the world community at large — need to sharply reduce economic relations with China. In particular, no one should be relying on them for medicines, medical equipment and other vital goods. (China’s state news service threatened to plunge America into a “mighty sea” of coronavirus by withholding critical medications.) Chinese scientists should no longer have easy access to Western laboratories or universities. Chinese political leaders should no longer find it easy to travel the world.
Congress should pass legislation stripping the Chinese government of sovereign immunity to lawsuits for COVID-19 damage in the United States. China should be stripped of its leadership roles in international organizations. And finally, Taiwan — a nation that has handled the outbreak better than almost any other nation, but has been excluded from the World Health Organization because its membership would offend the Chinese government — deserves membership in WHO, and full diplomatic recognition from the United States, and the rest of the world.
Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor and the author of “The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself,” is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors.
In late January Tedros-head-of-the-WHO raved about President Xi’s handling of the novel coronavirus, which our ABC radio played in full as a non-stop five minute grovel, with no questions asked about whether he had any role in China’s $13 billion Belt and Road program loan to Ethiopia (which it was struggling to pay) and whether that might have compromised his judgement.
A few days later Professor John Mackenzie, a Senior WHO Expert on the Novel Coronavirus Emergency Committee delivered a savage reply, calling China’s response “reprehensible”.( Thanks to commenter Sunni Bakchat.)
The stinging criticism from Prof John Mackenzie, a member of the World Health Organization’s emergency committee, … labelled China’s response “reprehensible” and said it defied logic that there was no increase in new cases at the same time that Chinese officials were holding local political meetings in January.
“There must have been more cases happening that we weren’t being told about. I think they tried to keep the figures quiet for a while because of some major meeting they had in Wuhan but I think there was a period of very poor reporting, or very poor communication,” he said.
As it happens, I was lucky enough to learn virology from the same John Mackenzie, one of my all-time favourite lecturers, long ago at UWA. He was sharp as, and a font of hilarious and captivating tales of viral trickery, havoc and mayhem. I’m delighted to see him in the fray showing that though the UN is an unsalvagable, troughing, corrupt organisation, there are still a few good people in there among the political climbers.
Tedros was forced to reply to this accusation and pretty much said no one should pick on him til after there was a long deferred review, and he’d retired or something. And could he have another half a billion dollars. And besides John Mackenzie wasn’t a WHO staffer. (He’s just a member of the Emergency Committee on Coronavirus.) As if that mattered. It was that pathetic.
What follows is one long weaseling excuse, but where were the Western Media?
Bavan Jaiopragas, South China Morning Post
Speaking at a press conference in Geneva, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said China should only be criticised for its response to the crisis if an “after action review” justifies doing so. Tedros was responding to media comments by John Mackenzie, an epidemiologist who is part of the world body’s emergency committee, that Beijing’s early response to the outbreak had been “reprehensible”.
Tedros, who has been criticised for repeatedly praising China, tried to steer the topic away from Beijing’s actions when asked about Mackenzie’s comments. “Again, I say let’s check,” the director general said. “Maybe we will have the after-action review to see if there was something hidden or not … we will have scientists who will understand, investigate and tell us the truth. “Now as a global community, please let’s focus on the actions we can take today.”
He added that if China had actually been hiding case reports, the number of infections now would be higher than it is.
Moreover, he said, McKenzie, an emeritus professor at Australia’s Curtin University, was not a WHO staff member.
Below, Sunni Bakchat compiled some of the relevant clauses from the WHO Pandemic Guidelines that China was supposed to meet for those of you with legal minds and an eye for detail.
““China’s embassy shot back that they reported everything according to WHO guidelines”.
The WHO has had a “China friendly” Director General since November, 2006. Dr Ghebreyesus’s predecessor was Dr. Chan (3).
The WHO Influenza Pandemic Guidelines (“IPG”) for want of any other identifiable pandemic guidelines appear to govern the member countries responses (1).
The WHO Influenza Pandemic Guidelines are taken from The International Health Regulations of 2005 (“IHR”) (implemented 2007) (2).
China is a conditional signatory to the IHR (7) as at 2007; The conditions state “Indicates that a State Party has submitted, to the Director-General of WHO, documentation related to the International Health Regulations (2005), which has been circulated by the Director-General to all Member States of WHO as well as to other States eligible to become Parties to the Regulations pursuant to Article 64 thereof.”. This circular (8) was approved on an undisclosed date after Dr. Chan’s appointment as director General. The circular includes a formally translated statement regarding implementation of the IHR’s. At clause two it states; “The Ministry of health of the people’s republic of China is designated as china’s focal point, pursuant to paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the IHR. The local health administrative authorities are the health authorities responsible for the implementation of the IHR in their respective jurisdictions. The general administration of quality supervision, inspection and quarantine of the People’s Republic of China and its local offices are the competent authorities of the points of entry referred to in article 22 of the IHR”. Presumably the Ministry of Health, Implementers and local authorities are different authorities. Article 22 of the IHR (9) at Page 25, Clause 1(i) states “The competent authorities shall:” inter alia “communicate with the National IHR Focal Point on the relevant public health measures taken pursuant to these Regulations.”
Will we ever find out from China when the first communication with the National IHR focal point occurred? A published timeline from The WHO (11) suggests knowledge of the extent and potential severity of the disease in early January when the wet markets had already been closed for disinfection.
Article 22 of the IHR at Page 25, Clause 1(g) states “The competent authorities shall:” inter alia “be responsible for supervision of service providers for services concerning travellers, baggage, cargo, containers, conveyances, goods, postal parcels and human remains at points of entry, including the conduct of inspections and medical examinations as necessary;”. Point of entry is defined under the IHR’s as revised on the 23rd May, 2005 as “a passage for international entry or exit of travellers, baggage, cargo, containers, conveyances, goods and postal parcels as well as agencies and areas providing services to them on entry or exit;” The aforementioned timeline from The WHO (11) states in relation to Wuhan “Since 14 January 2020, 35 infrared thermometers have been installed in airports, railway stations, long-distance bus stations, and ferry terminals;”.
This indicates an implementation of the required measures in a time frame inconsistent with containment imperatives. There had already been a case identified in Thailand by the 13th January. China had already shared the sequenced genetic code for use by other countries by the 12th January.
Article 22 of the IHR at Page 25, Clause 1(d) states “The competent authorities shall:” inter alia “advise conveyance operators, as far in advance as possible, of their intent to apply control measures to a conveyance, and shall provide, where available, written information concerning the methods to be employed;”.
The People’s Daily newspaper announced on January 22nd the Authority’s notification of discontinuation of all public conveyance from Wuhan commencing January 23rd at 10:00am local (10). It thus appears compliance with Article 22 of the IHR’s occurred on January 23rd.
The WHO can make a formal declaration under the IHR’s for a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” (“PHEIC”). A PHEIC is “an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response”.
The WHO declared a PHEIC for COVID-19 on the 30th January, 2020 (4) at a meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee for Pneumonia due to the Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV (“ECP”).
Members of the ECP (5) include Emeritus Professor John Mackenzie of John Curtin University. Professor Mackenzie is quoted in the Jakarta Post (6); “On Feb. 5, a day after Tedros had urged countries to provide complete case reports, the Financial Times reported that the influential WHO emergency committee member and veteran professor John Mackenzie “hit out at Beijing’s ‘reprehensible’ response,” and “accused China of not reporting coronavirus cases fast enough.”
The Jakarta Post article’s author seeks to impugn Professor McKenzie’s remarks by invocation of a cum hoc ergo proper hoc fallacy. The appearance of China using one of its proxies to invoke Neo-Marxist post-modernist dialogue to manufacture consent for its actions seems fairly likely. It reeks of the sort of asymmetrical, disinformational warfare beloved of Putin’s Russia.
The consistent pattern emerging from China is arguably one of casual delay and non-disclosure. Establishing the correct intent is a difficult task when events could easily be construed as governmental incompetence. Where prompt disclosure has occurred, it was before physical containment was in place. Hindsight is always perfect vision. The timelines involved need to be very closely scrutinized.
Particularly in relation to China’s interaction with the WHO, who China has sought to heavily influence since the implementation of the IHR’s that govern the response to pandemics. There are many gaps in the information required to create a highly accurate picture of what happened. What is clear in the above analysis however, is China’s response to the disease outbreak in terms of its compliance under the IHR’s if not deliberate was clearly negligent.
(1) https://www.who.int/influenza/preparedness/pandemic/publication/en/ (2) https://www.who.int/ihr/publications/9789241580496/en/ (3) https://www.who.int/dg/who-headquarters-leadership-team/former-directors-general (4) https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/30-01-2020-statement-on-the-second-meeting-of-the-international-health-regulations-(2005)-emergency-committee-regarding-the-outbreak-of-novel-coronavirus-(2019-ncov) (5) https://www.who.int/ihr/procedures/novel-coronavirus-2019/ec-22012020-members/en/ (6) https://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2020/02/18/the-strange-war-against-the-who-amid-its-battle-with-covid-19.html (7) https://www.who.int/ihr/legal_issues/states_parties/en/ (8) https://www.who.int/ihr/China2007.pdf?ua=1 (9) https://www.who.int/csr/ihr/WHA58-en.pdf (10) https://simpleflying.com/wuhan-quarantined-airport-closed/ (11) https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200121-sitrep-1-2019-ncov.pdf"