Wed. Aug 4th, 2021

FOR a long while, I had only been keeping it to myself: China had it coming. That is, that she had become the butt of lawsuits from the United States and its allies over the worldwide spread of the coronavirus.

To begin with, there is no question that the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) could be manufactured through the laboratory as demonstrated by the Ralph Baric experiment in 2015, long before the Wuhan outbreak last year, which, certainly with a lot of US pushing, has largely been attributed to bats endemic in southern China.

Neither is it questionable that back in April 2019, there had been an admission by an official of the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) that the coronavirus had been supplied to the institute by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for “multiplication” and then supply to different agencies for a variety of purposes.

There were findings during that period that leakages of the coronavirus took place and eventually, army personnel from Fort Detrick, where the USAMRIID is housed, participated in the Wuhan World Military Games in October 2019.

A reader pointed out in a comment to my article in that regard that 14 days after the games ended, the Wuhan Covid-19 outbreak began. Fourteen days is the incubation period for the novel coronavirus. Evidently conscious of this fact, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official was vociferous in hinting that the Wuhan outbreak might have been caused by the US participants in the games.

I have been tireless in pursuing this angle of the Covid-19 pandemic. For one thing, early on in the investigation of the World Health Organization (WHO), Director General TedrosAdhanom Ghebreyesus declared that there was no known connection between the Wuhan outbreak and those in Italy and Iran where the pathogen spread with even more intensity. This indicated that the virus was being transmitted from various sources.

Of late, I came across this exposé by a Russian general of a US bio weapons laboratory in Georgia, the Richard Lugar Center, which he claimed to be aimed at Russia and China and elsewhere.

Retired former Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Victor Corpus corroborated the exposé with information that a similar bio weapons facility operated by the US was in place in Ukraine. A Facebook follower of my account volunteered the information that in fact the Bill Gates Foundation had donated millions of dollars to fund a similar laboratory right in Wuhan.

Conspiracy theories

Certain apologists of the US line on the controversy would dismiss the above claims and information as conspiracy theories. This is to be expected. The Trump camp is currently in a frenzy of damning China over the pandemic, seeing the ploy as effective in recovering much lost ground for the coming US presidential elections.

“Don’t defend Trump, damn China,” has been what the Republicans have devised as an effective catch-all call for victory in those polls.

And to me, for a moment, China appeared to be just reeling from the blows delivered by the US in the blame game over the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Why!” I would wring my head in exasperation.

Given all the above, which even I in my layman’s limitations could comprehend, why doesn’t China deliver that one solid counter-blow: that the Covid-19 pandemic could not have made a direct leap from the Chinese bats and spread rapidly all over the world…

…and that the only possible means by which the pathogen could spread with such haste and intensity as it had done all over Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa is for the killer virus to be projected from various corresponding sources:

Georgia? As the Russian general would hint, Ukraine? If Vic Corpus is to be believed, indeed, Wuhan? As my Facebook informant has it, hinged on his knowledge of the Bill Gates Foundation funding the US bio-weapons lab in that area.

If China has been getting all the blame, then suits her fine. She didn’t do the right thing at the right time — which was at the very start. Right off, she could have pointed an accusing finger at the US for actually causing the pandemic.

But, as my Chinese friend would tell it to my face, who am I to talk to China this way?

Oh, well, if I’m a nobody, indeed, at least I’m somebody who thinks the Chinese way.

Grandstand act

Then came May 18, 2020. The 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) convened in Geneva. Among the world dignitaries who came to speak was Chinese President Xi Jinping who, speaking from Beijing through a video link, announced thus:

“China will provide $2 billion over two years to help with Covid-19 response and with economic and social development in affected countries, especially developing countries.”

The contribution, for spending over two years, to be sure amounts to more than twice what the US had been giving the global health agency before President Trump cut off Us funding last month. According to the New York Times, the contribution could catapult China to the forefront of international efforts to contain a disease that has claimed at least 315,000 lives.

“In China, after making painstaking efforts and sacrifice, we have turned the tide on the virus and protected lives,” Xi said. “We have done everything in our power to support and assist countries in need.”

For all intents and purposes, it was a grandstand act — an act evidently unexpected on the side of US President Donald Trump, whom a report in the New York Times pictures as being thrown in virtual panic.

Mao Zedong axiom

Suddenly I gape in recollection. Those days of learning basic Marxism, when in the primary course of the Communist Party of the Philippines we were taught Mao Zedong’s elementary principle in guerrilla warfare: one step backward, two steps forward.

“When the enemy attacks, retreat. When the enemy rests, harass him. When the enemy shows no sign of resistance, attack. When the enemy runs, pursue.”

Wasn’t this what actually happened? When during the period of the apparent start of the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China was under attack by the United States and its allies, what struck me as China’s non-resistance to the US propaganda onslaught really amounted to a step backward, as a good guerrilla commander would order.

China had to make such a gargantuan effort of shoring up its resources under the circumstances in order to deliver emergency assistance to other affected countries — as it did deliver some $200 million worth of medical supplies to the Philippines in addition to a team of Chinese medical personnel to help the country stem the pandemic — at the same time that it must demonstrate to the world its quick, effective response to the pandemic, registering no more new cases by mid-March of 2020.

Having succeeded now in the national realm of the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, China must be poised for the counterattack against the US in the international arena. Would the US be equipped to match its $2 billion contribution to the World Health Organization (WHO) funds for the Covid-19 fight?

State of the US

In this regard, Wilson Lee Flores of the Kamuning Bakery forum fame sent a link that could prove beneficial, an article, “We are living in a failed state. The coronavirus didn’t break America. It revealed what was already broken” by George Packer, posted on the website of The Atlantic for its June 2020 issue. The opening paragraphs alone picture in graphic detail the sorry state the US was in the minute China decided to make its countermove at the WHO.

“When the virus came here, it found a country with serious underlying conditions, and it exploited them ruthlessly. Chronic ills — a corrupt political class, a sclerotic bureaucracy, a heartless economy, and a divided and distracted public — had gone untreated for years. We had learned to live, uncomfortably, with the symptoms. It took the scale and intimacy of a pandemic to expose their severity — to shock Americans with the recognition that we are in the high-risk category.

“The crisis demanded a response that was swift, rational and collective. The United States reacted instead like Pakistan or Belarus — like a country with shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering.

The administration squandered two irretrievable months to prepare. From the president came willful blindness, scapegoating, boasts, and lies. From his mouthpieces, conspiracy theories and miracle cures. A few senators and corporate executives acted quickly — not to prevent the coming disaster, but to profit from it. When a government doctor tried to warn the public of the danger, the White House took the mic and politicized the message.

“Every morning in the endless month of March, Americans woke up to find themselves citizens of a failed state. With no national plan — no coherent instructions at all — families, schools and offices were left to decide on their own whether to shut down and take shelter.
When test kits, masks, gowns and ventilators were found to be in desperately short supply, governors pleaded for them from the White House, which stalled, then called on private enterprise, which couldn’t deliver. States and cities were forced into bidding wars that left them prey to price gouging and corporate profiteering. Civilians took out their sewing machines to try to keep ill-equipped hospital workers healthy and their patients alive.

Russia, Taiwan, and the United Nations sent humanitarian aid to the world’s richest power — a beggar nation in utter chaos.”

Could the US, in such a state of “utter chaos,” mount a resistance to the Chinese counterattack signaled at the WHO assembly? Trump’s reaction to Xi’s announcement of $2 billion donation to WHO for carrying out the war against Covid-19 is a giveaway.

The New York Times reported that Trump responded in “a scathing letter in which he accused the WHO of an ‘alarming’ dependence on China.” According to the report, in the letter, addressed to the WHO chief and posted on Twitter, the president said, “It is clear the repeated missteps by you and your organization in responding to the pandemic have been extremely costly for the world.”

Running away from a fight

What’s truly revealing about the four-page letter are details of Trump’s grievances against China and the WHO over the pandemic and Trump threatening at the end to permanently pull out of the WHO albeit with a face-saving alibi: if China does not “commit to substantive improvements within the next 30 days.”

Now, what is that threat of a pullout? Isn’t that, in the context of guerrilla warfare, a running away? So what Xi actually accomplished with that announcement of a donation of twice as much as that of the US to the WHO for the battle against Covid-19 perforce constitutes the harassment necessary to feel out an enemy’s resolve to fight. That Trump chose to pull out in turn constitutes the US decision to run away from the battle.

So, must Xi, like a goodie ole guerrilla general at an enemy on the run, order: “Attack!”

Xi expressed assurance that China will work with the United Nations to set up a global humanitarian response depot and hub in China, ensure the operation of anti-epidemic supply chains and foster “green corridors” for fast-track transportation and customs clearance.

He also assured that China will establish a cooperation mechanism for its hospitals to pair up with 30 African hospitals and accelerate the building of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters to help the continent ramp up its disease preparedness and control capacity.

“Covid-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good,” Xi declared to ovation from the assembly. (ia/SovereignPH.com)

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