British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is still on lockdown because he contracted the coronavirus, but he’s staying on top of his duties. These include monitoring the spread of the disease in his own country and around the world. The fly in the ointment on that front is the increasingly obvious likelihood that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been lying to the entire world about the number of confirmed cases and deaths they suffered during the initial stages of the outbreak. That may have impacted the estimates that health officials in other countries were using when determining how to respond. And according to reports from across the pond, BoJo is simply “furious” over it. (Business Insider)
Boris Johnson’s government is reportedly furious with China’s handling of the coronavirus, with UK officials quoted on Sunday warning that Beijing faces a “reckoning” once the COVID-19 crisis is over.
UK government officials believe China is spreading disinformation about the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in its country, the Mail on Sunday reports.
The newspaper says scientists have warned Johnson that China could have downplayed its number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus “by a factor of 15 to 40 times.” China had reported 81,439 cases at the time of writing.
Just how angry is Johnson? He’s reportedly looking at canceling China’s invitation to help the Brits set up and expand their 5G network. This would come as welcome news to the White House since they protested China’s involvement in that project in the first place.
So how badly did the CCP fudge the numbers on the impact of the pandemic and how did that throw off everyone else? We still don’t know exactly because China’s government is so secretive and willing to mislead the rest of the world if it protects their image. Thus far, China is still claiming that they saw 81,000 cases and 3,300 deaths, primarily in and around Wuhan. But as more and more information leaks out, it’s looking like the real number of deaths could be in the tens of thousands.
If so, that means that while the rest of us were trying to wrap our arms around this thing and prepare for the wave to hit us, we may have been working with bum data. This would apply to the rate of the spread of the infection as well as the mortality rate. If the Chinese had leveled with the rest of the world about just how bad this was, far more dramatic travel restrictions and containment measures could have been put in place earlier.
Would that have stopped the pandemic completely? Probably not, and we’ll likely never know. But if it helped to significantly contain the threat anywhere around the world it would have been a blessing.
The real question here, and the one that the Brits are currently bringing up, is what we’re supposed to do about the Chinese once this is all over. It’s not just Great Britain that’s looking at rethinking their relationship with Beijing going forward. The United States and most of the west should be and likely will as well. We’ve long known that China has amassed too much influence and power by holding so much of the world’s debt, including ours. But on top of that, they’ve taken over so much of the global supply chain that any disruption in their productivity can bring world markets to their knees overnight. We saw that during the early stages of this outbreak.
Further, the Chinese have become increasingly aggressive toward the west and have proven themselves to not be reliable partners in either trade or diplomacy. They prefer to foster relationships with Russia, Iran, North Korea and Venezuela instead of working with the United States and our allies. Their increasingly aggressive actions in the South China Sea are also highly worrisome in terms of trying to divine their future plans.
This crisis should open our eyes to the fact that much of the world – including the United States – has foolishly shopped out far too much power and influence to the Chinese. And their secretive, authoritarian government has done nothing to demonstrate that they will wield that power in a responsible, cooperative fashion. It’s time for a fresh look at this relationship and to find a way to better keep our fate under our own control in the future.