The ‘living habits’ referred to is the slaughter and eating of wild animal species in China but it is a wider issue than that. It is about the human-animal or human-nature relationship. I think she is stating it euphemistically to avoid being detained by the Chinese authorities. I have called nature’s retribution a form of karma which is exactly what it is.
Shi Zhengli is called the ‘Bat Woman’ for her viruses hunting expeditions to bat caves. She is an acclaimed virologist who works at her Wuhan laboratory, the Wuhan Institute, where studies of bat viruses have taken place.
There is a virulent conspiracy theory roaring through the Western world that the current coronavirus pandemic started by the escape of the virus from the Wuhan Institute and not from Wuhan’s wet market.
There is a lot of circumstantial evidence and a lot of senior politicians are taking the theory seriously. It is being discussed at the highest levels of the governments of Britain and the USA.
However, it is said that the Wuhan laboratory does not house bat viruses but sequences the virus’s DNA. In defence the ‘Bat Woman’ made the statement. ‘The novel 2019 coronavirus is nature punishing the human race for keeping uncivilised living habits’.
She swears on her life that it has nothing to do with her laboratory.
That simple statement is so important because it signals the necessity for humans to change their relationship with nature e.g. wild species of animal, across the globe. It has to be fundamental and if it is done we will have developed civilised living habits and nature will no longer need to punish us. It will bring in an era of massive improvements in animal welfare never seen before.
It isn’t just in China where there is an insensitivity towards animal welfare. It is in every country to varying degrees but it is worse in developing countries. And there is a longstanding culture in China of eating domestic and wild animals of all kinds. Damn it they secretly admit it is uncivilised to eat cats and dogs. Eating primates and other wild animals (aka bush meat) in Africa is equally uncivilised in the 21st century and might lead to another pandemic.