Covid-107

Dan O'Heirity

China Has Murdered Nearly Six Hundred Thousand People

I’m going to give some figures today to make a point. First to the figures. According to my preferred data source – which is updated in real time for the number of new daily cases and fatalities with the data being reset at GMT+0 – there have been 13,987,746 confirmed cases of the Chinese virus. Two days ago there were 235,014 new cases. Yesterday there were 248,869 new cases. Today, reporting at 1:18 PM GMT, there have been 48,373 new cases. This pattern of seeing 200,000+ new cases a day has been going on for weeks now which means that we are seeing over 1,000,000 new cases per week. As for fatalities, there have been 593,538 deaths from the virus. There were 5,752 new deaths two days ago, 5,742 new deaths yesterday and today we have seen 1,568 new deaths. The pattern of 5,000+ new deaths per day has also been going on for some weeks now meaning that we are seeing around 35,000 fatalities per week.

Someone capable of sympathy or empathy would likely find these figures horrifying. Personally, and as a result of my various mental health conditions, I find them interesting in an abstract kind of way. 1,000,000 new cases per week and 35,000 new fatalities per week. And why are we in this situation? Well, rather obviously, because China sent its citizens around the world in the full knowledge that there had been human to human transmission of the virus in China. At the same time China restricted travel within China. In other words, China deliberately started this pandemic. Thus, rather than referring to deaths from the virus or to fatalities from the virus, we should be referring to the fact that China has so far murdered nearly 600,000 people. I have made this argument many times but it bears mentioning repeatedly so that this fact is surfaced.

Australia Might Be in a Bit of Trouble With the Coronavirus

Two days ago saw 237 new cases in Australia bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 10,487. There were two new deaths bringing the total number of fatalities to 111. Yesterday saw 323 new cases bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 10,810. There were 2 new deaths bringing the total number of fatalities to 113. There have been 425 new cases today bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 11,235. There have been 3 new deaths bringing the total number of deaths to 116. Live data continues to show that virtually all of the Covid-19 cases in Australia are in the State of Victoria with live data also showing that the vast majority of cases occurring in metropolitan Melbourne rather than rural Victoria. Victoria will continue with a Stage 3 lockdown meaning that people can only leave their homes for four reasons which include: exercise, work, to buy essential items and for medical attention.

Australian Universities Have Finally Been Caught Out For Hiding the True Number of Job Losses

I’ve written on numerous occasions about the fact that nearly every Australian University is in severe financial trouble due to the drop in international student numbers from Covid-19. I have made two fundamental points in this respect. First, it is really unclear just how many international students have been lost because around 25% of Chinese students found their way into Australia by staying in Thailand for two weeks to exploit a loophole in Australia’s border control measures. Then there is the fact that every university has moved all of its units of studies online so that teaching international students can continue. The second point that I have made is that whilst Universities are publicly announcing the number of job losses, the true figure is being hidden because the job losses announced publicly are those relating to “ongoing staff”. Teaching at Australian Universities is predominantly carried out be “casual” or “fixed term” staff. In the case of my Faculty, “casual” or “fixed term” staff make up 70% of all teaching staff.

Today, happily, there was a story making the point that I have made about the fact that figures for the number of casual or sessional staff who have simply been “let go” are just not transparent, particularly in the state of Victoria where there is a significant time lag in the reporting by universities of how many “casual” or “fixed term” staff that they employ. However, the data does become available and the story reports that across the state of Victoria, 70% of teaching staff in Universities are on “casual” or “fixed term” contracts meaning that their employment is extremely insecure. The point that I am making is confirmed by the sort of news that makes headlines. For example, news reporting that the University of New South Wales is axing 493 jobs and that Monash University is cutting 277 jobs is missing the point that these losses relate to “ongoing staff”. Behind the scenes hundreds of “casual” and “fixed term” staff will also be losing their jobs but the universities are not including these figures in the the figures that they make public.

Whatever You Think of Donald Trump, He Does Act Against China

Trump had done it again, this time putting in place measures to punish China for introducing a new security law in Hong Kong. These measures have been progressed after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo certified to Congress that Hong Kong can no longer be considered as separate from China. As far as I can figure it out, there are two aspects to Trumps new measures against China. First, Trump has signed an Executive Order – essentially a Federal Directive from the President – which means that Hong Kong will now have the same status as Mainland China in the eyes of the American Government. There will no longer be special economic privileges for Hong Kong and sensitive technologies will no longer be exported to Hong Kong. Secondly, the US Senate – which is the upper chamber of the United States Congress – has approved a new law known as “The Hong Kong Autonomy Act” that aims to punish China for harming democratic freedoms in Hong Kong. Under this new law sanctions would be imposed on businesses and individuals that help China to restrict Hong Kong‘s autonomy. Whilst the news reports China’s strong reaction to these U.S. moves, it is more telling to read a Chinese publication on the matter.

The United States is considering a Presidential Proclamation – which is a presidential directive – that would revoke visas for members of the Chinese Communist Party members along with their families. At this point in time the initiative is only at the stage where a draft Presidential or Executive Order had been circulated. At a more granular level Mike Pompeo, has advised that the US will be placing visa restrictions on “certain employees” of Chinese technology firms including Huawei. I have written many times before about how China’s strategy to become the dominant world power is an all encompassing “vector strategy” that entails exerting its power and influence across political, economic, geographic, social, cultural and technological spheres. The US attorney general, William Barr, is on board with this idea issuing,

a lengthy denunciation of the Chinese party’s strategy to achieve economic, political and cultural domination – a strategy he said was being abetted by Hollywood, hi-tech corporations, and US business leaders lobbying on Beijing’s behalf.

China’s strategies are sometimes utterly obvious. For example, China’s attempt to claim sovereignty over waterways in the South China sea along with building up a chain of artificial island fortresses in the Paracel and Spratly Islands in the South China sea. The results are also obvious with tensions between China and the United States in the South China sea region have led the Global Times to report that any any US aircraft carrier movement in the South China Sea region is “solely at the pleasure of the PLA”.

However, William Barr, mentioned above, also understands the granular level at which China works day by day by day in order to influence what we see and what we hear. In this case, Barr has picked up on the point that China exerts influence over Hollywood movies that we watch. China used distribution deals to have the nationalities of characters changed in two different movies because representing the characters as having Chinese origins did not align with the image of China that the Communist Party wanted to present to the world. Now for an anecdote. Some months ago I was watching a Hollywood sci-fi move about a group of cosmonauts who were travelling into space to try to find out what had happened to a stricken spacecraft. There was an international crew, American, European and one Chinese woman. All the crew members spoke English with the exception of the Chinese woman who only spoke Chinese with another crew member translating for the rest of the crew. Beyond the fact the ridiculousness of having a crew member who could only speak Chinese – imagine a disaster situation in which everything she says has to be translated – I wondered why a Hollywood movie would have a Chinese speaking woman in it. Now I know. Chinese influence. One more subtle way to promote China and the Chinese language.

First Published July 17th, 2020

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