People’s War against coronavirus: Why Washington fears China’s example

Chinese medical team arrives in Belgrade, Serbia, March 21 to help combat Covid-19 pandemic. European countries had rejected Serbia’s appeals for help. Photo: Xinhua

Gleaning the news, anyone can find articles acknowledging that China’s “People’s War” against the Covid-19 epidemic is on track for total victory. The sacrifices by the Chinese people and the confidence they have in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have resulted in gaining control over the enormous health crisis. 

The Trump administration’s miserable profit-before-people response to the arrival of the virus in the U.S. has stripped capitalism naked. Thousands are losing their livelihood, unable to get needed supplies and unable to get real medical help. The Democrats’ emergency bill provides only some help to a small section of the population. 

The contrast between socialist China’s great work and the cruelty of U.S. capitalism threatens a sea change in the way workers think about the two social systems.

The Trump administration is trying hard to erase that possibility by slandering China. The official line is that China concealed the danger of a pandemic, punished people who sent out early warnings, rejected help from the U.S. and caused a three-week delay in the response that they claim would certainly have been underway in the U.S. if only they had known. 

Yeah, right.

The notion that China had bought time for the rest of the world is often asserted by health officials. Some nations that had the resources took their cue from China and were prepared when the virus spread internationally. 

The blame for the lack of resources in much of the world belongs on the doorstep of U.S. imperialism. Vicious U.S. economic sanctions, International Monetary Fund austerity programs and sapping of resources have left countries vulnerable. 

The White House tightened sanctions against Venezuela, Iran and Cuba in recent days. The virus has reached Gaza and countries in Africa where sanctions and imperialist domination have broken the economies. Long ago, Trump cut the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) budget and efforts to prevent outbreaks in China, Pakistan, Haiti, Rwanda and Congo.

U.S. punishes while China helps

China, meanwhile, is sending medicine and all forms of aid that it can to other countries, including France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Iran, Iraq and the Philippines. The Chinese people’s humanity and solidarity are so threatening to the U.S. that the headline of a March 25 Foreign Policy article cries, “How China is Exploiting the Coronavirus to Weaken Democracies.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) was given reports by China even before the potential for a pandemic was certain. WHO shared the information with the U.S. CDC and spoke of the danger repeatedly. There was plenty of timely warning!

The U.S. also had a direct line of communication through Dr. Linda Quick — a CDC staff person stationed in China until July 2019. According to a March 22 Reuters report, Quick’s job was to work with epidemiologists to zero in on viral outbreaks and report to the U.S. 

She “was in an ideal position to be the eyes and ears on the ground for the United States and other countries.” Her position was eliminated by the Trump administration. 

This shows what a spurious claim it is that China rejected help from the U.S. They welcomed this liaison and it was Trump who eliminated the position.

It was Dec. 31 when China first reported everything it knew and didn’t know to WHO. A Jan. 21 WHO Situation Report indicates that the city of Wuhan reported 45 cases being treated for pneumonia, but caregivers weren’t yet certain of the cause. The earliest patient they knew about fell ill on Dec. 12.

Through research over the recent months, Chinese scientists and others learned that this coronavirus is different from its six known cousins. This one can be contagious while there are mild or no symptoms, but it is potentially deadly — a recipe for a terrible epidemic or even a pandemic.

China mapped the genome and shared it with the world just 12 days after their first report to WHO — an incredible scientific feat and a big step forward for the world. At the same time, China reported the connection to a seafood market in Wuhan. Although they still hadn’t confirmed human-to-human transmission, Chinese officials were concerned enough to close the market and restrict travel to and from Wuhan. 

On Jan. 23, the number of confirmed cases had doubled from the previous day to 570, and 17 people had died. Wuhan and three other cities in Hubei province were immediately locked down. 

Soon the lockdown was expanded so that 100 million people sheltered at home. Food deliveries, medical treatment, thousands of hours of research, millions of coronavirus tests, “pop-up” test sites throughout China, drones spraying disinfectant in Wuhan and making public announcements, hospitals being constructed at blazing speed — all of this commenced under the leadership of the CCP.

Anti-China slander ramps up

As criticism of Trump has mounted, the anti-China narrative has been employed more often and has been augmented even by liberal and progressive media. 

A Feb. 10 Vox article cites an epidemiologist using newer statistics to contradict the information that was supplied by China before those statistics were available. His deceitful argument is easy to see through. No statistics on an epidemic are accurate until there has been time to compile and study. Cases may have existed earlier, but China reported what it knew and was honest about what it didn’t know on Dec. 31.  

On Dec. 30, Dr Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, had become aware of a number of pneumonia cases and communicated it to physicians at another hospital in Wuhan. He assessed it to be a coronavirus. He was then summoned by Wuhan authorities and reprimanded. 

The central government of China had good reason to want information to be centralized. Many party officials and scientists were working day and night to learn more about the illness and how to prevent its spread. Still, the central government felt that the action of the police in Wuhan was inappropriate, and to their credit, apologized. They are investigating how the protocol was misapplied.

But the Trump administration has seized on this incident and has used it as another battering ram against China. Howls of condemnation from media outlets have bolstered the China-bashing, Cold War attacks.

Even as the possibility of the U.S. becoming the global epicenter looms, the White House is hinting at reversing course and directing the country to go back to work by mid-April. That bit of news is currently being cheered by Wall Street as investors try to climb back from some of the worst days in the Dow Jones’ history.

The contrast between a socialist system whose goal is humanity and a decrepit, violent capitalist system based on the greed of billionaires is evident. The billionaires and their lackeys are right to be worried.