Have We Lost Interest in Covid-19?
Yesterday I was feeling somewhat blasé with respect to stories about universities being in dire financial trouble as a result of having lost their cash cow international students. Today I have realized I am actually feeling a degree of general indifference towards the reports and news stories about the CCP virus which, I would add, do not seem to be grabbing the headlines as they once did. It feels to me as though the CCP virus has now become somewhat commonplace in our lives with the events surrounding the virus and the consequences of the virus no longer being as newsworthy as they once were. As evidence of this fact, there was a time when just about every news story on an aggregated news site would have had something to do with the CPP virus. Not so now.
Today I scrolled down the Microsoft Edge start page until I had counted 100 news tiles. Only 6 of these tiles related to the CCP virus, with most of the stories covering the easing of lockdown measures in Australia, the country where I reside. Furthermore, these 6 tiles appeared towards the end of my count with the viewers apparently more interested in “Presley and other actors who served in the military” and “What people wore the year you were born.” It would seem that the fact that the CCP virus has, according to my preferred data source, infected 5,819,724 across 213 countries and territories around the world no longer interests us as much as it once did. The same would seem to be true of the 358,017 deaths that have resulted from the virus.
China Remains Belligerent and Arrogant
Chinese and Indian Troops Clash Along the Line of Actual Control
China is making significant strategic moves that, on one reading, indicate that China is beginning to show its real intention of becoming the dominant world power. At the same time it would be fair to say that Beijing is becoming increasingly belligerent and openly defiant in the face of criticism from world leaders about, for example, China’s new security legislation in Hong Kong. However, let’s start with the fact that Xi Jinping ordered, “the military to scale up its battle preparedness, visualising the worst-case scenarios and asked them to resolutely defend the country’s sovereignty.” The reason for the order seems to be escalating tensions between Chinese and Indian soldiers along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) which is the defacto border between the China and India.
China has reportedly sent 5,000 additional troops to the border with India with the troops advancing on five fronts in the nation’s far north, four along the Galwan River and one near Pangong Lake. The importance of the area around the Line of Actual Control is given in the fact that certain territories provide a vantage point for the Chinese to be able to see deep into India, including being able to view military installations. Another territory would enable China to directly observe Lukung, an area where Indian patrol boats are kept. At the same time these troop movements have been happening, the Chinese Foreign Minister has said that the situation is “stable and controllable”. Odd really, sending 5,000 extra troops to a border where there is apparently no real problem.
China No Longer Committed to the Peaceful “Reunification” of Taiwan
MSN has reported that China discussed the “reunification” of China and Taiwan at the recent “National People’s Congress”. Apparently, however, China omitted for the first time to use the term “peaceful” in its discussions of its efforts to “re-join” Taiwan to China. Notice the quote marks around “reunification” and “re-join”. Taiwan has never been a part of the People’s Republic of China – although it was a part of Imperial China – and Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, said in a speech in March 2019 that, “I want to emphasize that the “one country, two systems” principle unilaterally undermines the status quo, eliminates the sovereignty of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and forces Taiwan to accept unification with China. For many years now, countless public opinion polls have shown that the vast majority of Taiwanese will not accept this.“
The history of Taiwan is a complex one and it would be naïve to do more here than point to the fact that China has long sought to bring Taiwan under its control and that China may now have lost patience. Why now? Well, one reason could be that China believes the world is too focussed on dealing with the CCP virus to be particularly bothered about Taiwan. A second reason could have to do with an opinion already offered, viz. China is feeling embarrassed and wants to flex some military muscle to reassert itself in the eyes of the world. A final reason, could be that, as reported in other blog posts, China wants to control the whole of the South China Sea region and taking Taiwan by force would be a quick solution to realizing one part of this aim.
Hong Kong Will Very Soon Be Ruled With An Iron Fist By China
I can’t help but feel that any talk of the “one country, two systems” approach to government in Taiwan can only be ironic at the moment because it is not as though the idea is working out so well in Hong Kong. Rather, the opposite is the case. China has, in fact, given up any pretence to maintaining the “one country, two systems” form of government and “China’s ceremonial legislature has, within the last couple of days, endorsed a national security law for Hong Kong” which, “will alter the territory’s mini-constitution, or Basic Law, to require its government to enforce measures to be decided later by Chinese leaders.” As previous blog posts have argued, this is really the tip of the iceberg and we can only expect matters to get far worse in Hong Kong with respect to basic human freedoms and rights.
Hong Kong citizens will undoubtedly find themselves under close surveillance with China setting up Hong Kong security offices so that Beijing can monitor and arrest pro-democracy activists and clamp down on any form of anti-China sentiment. This would include being disrespectful during the playing of the Chinese National Anthem. People arrested in Hong Kong may also be “extradited” to mainland China for trial which is extremely worrisome as China’s courts have a 99% conviction rate. China will also seek to overhaul the Hong Kong education system so that it is palatable to Beijing. This story reports that, Australia, the UK, Canada and the US have expressed “deep concerns” over the new security law in Hong Kong but China has responded with fighting talk, basically telling the U.S, that China is too powerful to contain.
Was Covid-19 Manufactured in a Laboratory in Wuhan?
I’m going to finish with a story about the possibility that the CCP virus was manufactured in a laboratory in Wuhan. It is not that I necessarily put much stock in these stories as medical opinion over the last few months seems to have inclined against the idea that the CCP virus was developed in a laboratory. However, I like the idea that some search engine somewhere is culling key words from this page such as “China”, “Coronavirus” “developed”, “manufactured” and “laboratory”. I’m not going to summarize the research from an Australian university researcher beyond saying that the claim is that Covid-19 virus binds much more effectively to human cells than to any other animal cells tested in the research.
To put this another way, the virus seems to be much better adapted to infect humans than any other animal tested in the research. This fact is apparently very unusual and leaves open the possibility that the virus may have been man made in a Chinese laboratory. Actually, to be both precise and politically correct, it leaves open the possibility, for example, that the virus was perhaps woman made at the Wuhan Laboratory of Virology where Shi Zengli, one of China’s top virus researchers, worked. The research from the Australian University is still waiting on peer review before it can be published.
First Published May 28th, 2020