Coronavirus Crowns the New Decade
Originating in Wuhan, China, and spreading through parts of Asia, Europe, & the United States, the Coronavirus has triggered panic in the international community. Not surprising, but deplorable, is China’s concealment of information regarding the virus. Chinese residents and even some of my friends, who are of Chinese heritage, have expressed their distrust toward a government whose police-state politics originally pledged to protect their people.
When Wuhanese doctor, Li Wenliang publicly warned about an outbreak, he was labeled a ‘whistleblower’ and silenced by the Chinese government (it was said that the doctor recently died after contracting the virus from a patient). Knowing about the epidemic in early January, Xi Jinping refused to act; and it wasn’t until recently that the city of Wuhan was quarantined. Additionally, the administration is underreporting the number of cases and deaths all for the benefit of their institution, rather than the well-being of their own people. While they may not realize it, the Chinese government has betrayed their nation and the rest of the world. And it does not look like they’ll get away with it: as Asian xenophobia rises internationally, the economic superpower is also at risk of a major slowdown.
In Europe, particularly in France where antisemitism and Islamophobia are prevalent, anti-Asian sentiments have sparked angry protests. Asians wearing masks have been targets of hate crimes, with the most notable case in New York City, where a man harassed a Chinese woman who he called a “diseased b*tch” (CNN). Articles from various news sources are titled, “Will the Coronavirus cause the next Recession?” and TV media outlets pose the same question. With families around the world praying to keep their loved ones healthy, and those diagnosed fighting for life, we acknowledge this epidemic unjustly impacts everyone. But there is only so much that can be done when a virus spreads like wildfire, and we cannot blame the Chinese for ‘starting’ it. China’s reaction to the emergency however, does exacerbate the situation over all else: most prominent is the issue as it relates to abuse of power and institutional betrayal.
As in China, we have seen coverups flood the pools of governments around the world–from Trump’s high crime in America to Putin’s effective dictatorship in Russia. Sure, leaders can investigate their rivals, bribe other governments, or abuse their position for personal gain; this really shouldn’t happen, but it’s the norm these days. Scandal after scandal, we are desensitized by the political barrage and diplomatic tensions that may not directly affect the common citizen. But when the entire world is attacked by an unstoppable, lethal plague, it would be expected for anyone discovering it to sound the alarm. While current efforts by the Politburo to contain the virus within China are commendable, the argument that new facts are still emerging and awaiting confirmation gives no excuse for censorship. Evidence of a highly-contagious disease is undoubtedly present; widespread sickness and rising death tolls prove it certain. It is appalling that governmental deception would extend to risk us all– from mothers with babies in their wombs, children working toward a bright future ahead, and elderly seizing their last few years of life. After Trump’s acquittal, we asked if coverups could get any worse. Premier Xi Jinping gave us our answer, and that is ‘yes, they can.’
Commentary inspired by: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/13/podcasts/the-daily/coronavirus.html