NEWS/OPINION: Not a word of apology has come out of China for causing the damage done to the planet by the Covid-19 virus. I was waiting for an apology from President Xi Jinping. The virus is costing the planet trillions of dollars in lost economic trade. It is killing thousands of people and disrupting the lives of billions. It is putting the fear of God into hundreds of millions of people so shouldn’t the president apologise?
The answer to the question depends upon whether China is the cause, through Chinese culture and laws, of this viral outbreak. We have all heard over many weeks that the outbreak started in a live animal market in Wuhan. Experts are not sure which animal transmitted the disease to a person in the market (a zoonotic disease). They say it could have been a civet, a bat, a pangolin or some other animal waiting to be butchered (a koala perhaps) on a demand by a customer. We don’t have specific details. I presume that a customer walks down the market, looks at an animal and tells the stallholder that he wants that animal killed to take away immediately. The stallholder butchers the animal and prepares the carcass. Blood and fluids from the animal spray up onto the stallholder who acquires the disease. He then spreads it to others when he sneezes. I am speculating as to how the first transmission from wild aniaml to person happened.
However, until now it seems that it was well established that the virus originated in a wild animal at a live animal market in China, specifically Wuhan. If that is the case, arguably China should apologise because there appears to be no animal welfare laws regarding the butchering of wild animals at markets in China. In fact there are no animal welfare laws in China in general which reflects the attitude of the Chinese government. For such a powerful and important nation the lack of animal welfare law is an embarassment.
But for this complete lack of regulation and animal welfare laws the transmission of this disease from a wild animal to a person or persons in a market would not have happened. This lacuna in the second largest economy on the planet demands an apology from the lawmakers of that country, the head of whom is President Xi. There are calls for China to compensate other countries. The financial losses are estimates thus far to be 3.2 trillion dollars.
UPDATE: There is an alternative course: the biolab in Wuhan where they experiment with biological warfare germs etc.. At 29th April (Washington Post) there is a US theory that the virus escaped the lab and then China covered it up. It is also certain that China downplayed and covered up the disease no matter what the source. This arguably makes them culpable and one US state Missouri is suing China for compensation already. Many nations will follow I believe.
There is another issue. It is claimed that the Chinese authorities engaged in a cover-up in the early days of the virus. A critical moment when urgent and transparent action could have prevented the pandemic engulfing the planet. It makes China morally responsible and therefore they should pay compensation of some sort.
We don’t even know the extent of the damage to the planet that this viral outbreak will do. It is continuing and we will find out in due course the cost of this abuse of animals in China.
The counterargument is presented in a video on YouTube called Factsell: There Is no need for China to apologise about Covid-19. The video appears to be funded in whole or in part by the Chinese government according to Wikipedia and you can see it below.
The crux of the matter is that they say that the virus did not originate in China but they don’t know where it originally came from. The video then spreads some mud around arguing that other countries under other similar circumstances had not apologised. I get the argument and I accept it. It turns on its head what was the accepted origin of Covid-19 namely, as mentioned, the live animal market in Wuhan.
If the argument in the video is correct then, of course, China is not obligated to make an apology but according to Wikipedia the video is propaganda disseminated by a Chinese apparatchik which should be ignored and the original argument reinstated. An apology is due in my opinion based on what we know at this time. But we have to take a balanced view.
Perhaps when the dust has settled and the virus has burnt itself out we will know more about the origin of this disastrous viral epidemic which has devastated the lives of millions of people. Perhaps then President Xi will apologise but I very much doubt it.
For animal advocates, there is a silver lining to the whole affair. Perhaps it will jumpstart a change in culture in China with respect to animal welfare forcing the introduction of animal welfare laws and the closure of live animal markets would be a good starting point. There needs to be well enforced regulations regarding the relationship between people and animals including their slaughter for meat.
I’m not going to go on but the cat and dog meat markets in the south are notoriously well-known as being a kind of hell on earth for companion animals. China’s cat and dog fur market is a parallel hell on earth for companion animals. And I am referring to millions of animals. A great mountain of animal agony. These aspects of accepted Chinese life need to be regulated with well constructed animal welfare laws. In fact they need to be completely eliminated through these laws which they would be if the laws were drafted properly because they are abusive places that no law would accept.
China has joined forces with Iran in a virus blame game. Beijing has accused America of hiding the scale of its coronavirus crisis. They have suggested that Americans brought the disease to China. Apparently Chinese diplomats have privately briefed that the disease did not start in China despite, as mentioned in this article, that the first known case was traced to a live animal market in Wuhan as far back as November 2019.
A China foreign ministry spokesman has challended Washington to prove that America was not responsible. They said “it might be the U.S. Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent!”
When America confirmed its first case of the virus in late February, the information was promoted on Chinese social media as proof that the virus had begun on American soil.
Is the blame game. It is trying to get out of taking responsibility. In Iran, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted that the military would begin a “biological defence exercise” implying that America had used biological warfare to infest Iran with this disease. It’s a xenophobic blame game and conspiracy theories created by the leaders of China and Iran. No doubt it will get worse as the fallout increases because there will be massive economic fallout from this disease. And the consequences will last for many years.
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